Can an employer change an employee’s work schedule with sufficient notice?

Example: Employee used to work 4 days (7-3) and 1 night (3-10) a week. Employee “gave” night shift to another employee after working it for about 8 months. She has been employed for about a year. I need her to work that night shift again and swap one of her day shifts for it. She has only not worked it for about 3 months and informs me that she won’t change it. Absolutely refuses.And if she quits or is fired for this, can she collect unemployment benefits. She has told other employees that she is trying to get fired or layed off so she can collect.

Asked on August 9, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) An employer may change an employee's shift without any notice--i.e. immediately--unless there is a written employment or union contract specifying a particular shift. (All employment, in the absence of an employment contract, is "employment at will," and part of that is that the hours, shifts, etc. are all at the employer's sole discretion or will.)

2) If you fire an employee for not accepting a shift change, you have fired her "for cause"--for insubordination and not following instructions--and as long you inform the unemployment agency of that, she is not entitled to unemployment compensation; similarly, if she quits or resigns over this, she is not entitled to unemployment.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) An employer may change an employee's shift without any notice--i.e. immediately--unless there is a written employment or union contract specifying a particular shift. (All employment, in the absence of an employment contract, is "employment at will," and part of that is that the hours, shifts, etc. are all at the employer's sole discretion or will.)

2) If you fire an employee for not accepting a shift change, you have fired her "for cause"--for insubordination and not following instructions--and as long you inform the unemployment agency of that, she is not entitled to unemployment compensation; similarly, if she quits or resigns over this, she is not entitled to unemployment.


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