I was just recently switched from Exempt to Nonexempt and I work 40 hours a week. Can an employer enforce not paying for overtime unless its"preapproved by the company first" before they have to pay time and a half according to the law?

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    What is your location of employment? – Peter M Nov 30 '16 at 16:06
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    @PeterM - by referring to "Exempt" and "Non-Exempt", the location can't really be anywhere else than the USA. – brhans Nov 30 '16 at 16:08
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    I'm not quite sure that I understand the question. If you work 40 hours a week, you wouldn't get overtime. A policy that overtime has to be pre-approved is pretty common. If the company doesn't want to pay overtime, doesn't authorize overtime, and doesn't have you work overtime, then they don't have to pay overtime. – Justin Cave Nov 30 '16 at 16:11
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    @brhans There may be state laws in play as well. Plus not everyone on here is from the US and would know that. – Peter M Nov 30 '16 at 16:14
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    If you work overtime, you have to be paid for that overtime. If you work overtime without authorization, your employer is free to terminate you. – Justin Cave Nov 30 '16 at 17:35

In the US, if you are non-exempt, generally overtime must be paid at time-and-a-half for anything over 40 hours. It's illegal to not pay you at the correct rate.

But then again, it's not illegal to not offer overtime.

Read up on the Fair Labor Standard Act.

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    So if they require pre-approval for overtime, you can refuse to work any overtime until it has been approved, in writing. – David K Nov 30 '16 at 16:13
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    @DavidK That doesn't make any sense. If OP's manager is asking or requiring OP to work overtime, the law doesn't make any distinction about needing a written approval. If the manager requests that employee work the overtime, then the company is on the hook to pay it, no matter what. – Xavier J Nov 30 '16 at 16:17
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    I can tell you that legally my sister had to pay her employees overtime if they worked it whether it was approved or not because of a state labor law. However, working unapproved overtime can be grounds to fire you which is what she did to the employee after she had been repeatedly told not to work overtime. So you might get the extra money once or twice, but it is not worth it. – HLGEM Nov 30 '16 at 16:28
  • Fair point. I can just see possibility of disputes over precisely when and how much overtime was requested by the employer, especially if there was only a verbal conversation. It's always better to get things in writing. – David K Nov 30 '16 at 16:30
  • @HLGEM on that point, you're correct. I know someone who worked for Wal-mart. Clocking ONE minute of distinctly unapproved overtime there is grounds for a write-up ("counseling"). – Xavier J Nov 30 '16 at 16:32

Your company has a policy that any time worked beyond 40 hours must be approved. So if you do work beyond 40 hours with out approval then you are violating that policy. If a supervisor orders you to work overtime with out management approval then they are violating that policy.

Either way your employer is required to follow the law regarding compensation. If you work 41 hours in a week they are required to pay that 1 hour at time and a half regardless of if it was approved or not.

However, If you worked that extra hour with out approval then you could be subject to disciplinary action. This is no different that if you are scheduled to work 8-5 and you decide on your own to come back it at 8pm after everyone has left and work another 4 hours. They must pay you for that time you worked, even though it was not authorized or approved. But they are probably going to some sort of disciplinary action. And it is conceivable that working unapproved and unauthorized hours could result in your termination for cause.

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