Can a company fire an employee for refusing to add additional work hours?

My wife has been at her company for 7 years and 2 years ago she changed her schedule to 32 hours per week full-time. She is listed at full-time with medical, etc. She got a new boss 1 year ago and her

schedule has not changed. Just today she is now being told to work 40 hours. She was not asked. She

cannot work 40 hours because of child care. Does she have the right to tell her boss no and that’s it or

can they fire her for this?

Asked on April 18, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, unless your wife has protection against this action under the terms of an employment contact or union agreement, she can be disciplined for not working her newly scheduled hours, up to and including termination. The fact is that as an "at will" worker, her employer can set the conditions of her employment much as it sees fit, absent some form of legally actionable discrimination.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, unless your wife has protection against this action under the terms of an employment contact or union agreement, she can be disciplined for not working her newly scheduled hours, up to and including termination. The fact is that as an "at will" worker, her employer can set the conditions of her employment much as it sees fit, absent some form of legally actionable discrimination.


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