If my employer is asking me to work over my scheduled shift but I’m unable to, can I be fired for this?

MY EMPLOYER WANTS ME TO CONTINUE TO WORK AN HR OVER MY SCHEDULED SHIFT EVERY DAY. I HAVE BEEN DOING THIS FOR 5 WEEKS AND I AM NOT ABLE TO ANY LONGER BECAUSE OF CHILD CARE. IS HE ABLE TO FIRE ME BECAUSE I CANT STAY LATE, AND IF SO WOULD I BE ABLE TO GET UNEMPLOYMENT IF FIRED FOR THIS?

Asked on March 16, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Iowa

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

As unfair as this might seem, you can be fired over this. In an "at will" employment relationship, a company can set the conditions of work much as it sees fit. This is true unless such an action would violate the terms of any applicable union agreement, employment contract or company policy. Also, such treatment cannot constitute a form of legal discrimination. Other than that, an employee can be made to work over their schedled shift and be terminated if they don't.
As for unemployment benefits, an employee may receive them so long as they were not fired for "cause" (e.g. theft, confrontations with supervisors/co-workers, regularly coming in late, excessive absences and the like). Not being able to work newly extended hours would likley not disqualify you from eligibility. Check with your nearest unemployment office to find out for sure. 


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