Can my employer legally fire me if I tell them that I cannot work the shift they are trying to accommodate me with because it interferes with my home schedule?

I recently broke my thumb at work. I work 3rd shift, 12 hour shifts. Now that I have been released to go back to work on light duty, my employer changed my schedule to 1st shift 8 hour shifts. The thing that stops me is I also drop my 7 year old son off to school every morning and watch all 3 of my kids Wednesday to Saturday. My bosses know this. This is one of the reasons I work the 3rd shift.

Asked on May 30, 2014 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Yes, your employer can change your shift at will, even if it interferes with your home schedule (and even if they are well-aware that it interferes), and they may fire you if you won't work that shift. Unless you have an employment contract (which is *very* rare, outside of union jobs), all employment is "employment at will," which means that employers may not only fire you at will (at any time, for any reason), but may change hours, location, job title or duties, pay, etc. at any time for any reason. Anyone who does not comply with the employer's rules may be terminated.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.