The holiday shopping season used to begin on the day after Thanksgiving. In fact, it was so popular among shoppers that it became known as Black Friday. Black Friday was a day of massive sales that finally allowed retailers to turn a profit, or put them in the black. These days, more and more retailers have begun opening on Thanksgiving, and the list seems to expand every year. As retailers try to lure customers into their stores, many have foregone being closed on Thanksgiving. To serve customers, these retail businesses need employees who are willing to work on Thanksgiving and other traditional holidays. However, what if you decide that you do not want to work on Thanksgiving or on another holiday? Can your job be at risk?  

It Is the Retailer’s Choice to be Open on Thanksgiving

In short, your job could be at risk if you refuse to work on Thanksgiving. Legally, there is no federal or state law that obligates retail stores or other employers to close for a holiday, even a federal holiday such as Thanksgiving or New Year’s Day. It should be noted that your employer is not legally obligated to pay you if they do close operations for a holiday.

If you are working for the holiday, you should be compensated with overtime pay, otherwise known as time and a half. During the holiday shopping season, stores tend to get busier than at any other point in the year and often offer you more hours than your allotted 40 hours per week. In New Jersey, nonexempt employees receive overtime pay for any overtime hours that they work.

Usually, many employers will offer incentives to employees to show up to work on a holiday, such as free meals and store discounts.

Can Your Employer Monitor or Limit Your Behavior When Not at Work?

Unfortunately, we are still dealing with a pandemic, and there may be employers who advise employees to limit their interactions and to celebrate the holidays with caution. Employment law limits how much say companies have on workers’ off-duty time.

Although managers are within their rights to ask you about your Thanksgiving plans, they can encounter legal pitfalls if they monitor employees’ social media activity or take punitive measures based on how someone spends the day.

New Jersey State Holidays

New Jersey recognizes the following holidays:

  • New Year’s Day, January 1
  • Martin Luther King’s Birthday, third Monday in January
  • Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12
  • Washington’s Birthday, third Monday in February
  • Good Friday, falls in March or April
  • Memorial Day, last Monday in May
  • Juneteenth Day, third Friday in June
  • Independence Day, July 4
  • Labor Day, first Monday in September
  • Columbus Day, second Monday in October
  • Election Day, first Tuesday after the first Monday in November
  • Veterans/Armistice Day, November 11
  • Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November
  • Christmas Day, December 25

Camden County Employment Lawyers at Burnham Douglass Fight for Employees Who Have Not Been Properly Paid for Thanksgiving

If you or a loved one has not been fairly compensated for working on Thanksgiving or working overtime during the holidays, the skilled Camden County employment lawyers at Burnham Douglass are available to help. We will examine your situation and advocate for your compensation. Contact us online or call us at 856-751-5505 for a free consultation. We are located in Marlton and Northfield, New Jersey, and we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden County, Burlington County, Atlantic County, Gloucester County, and Mercer County.