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

Answers:

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.


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