Can a cashier be fired for clocking out at the end of a shift when her replacement has not arrived?

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Can a cashier be fired for clocking out at the end of a shift when her replacement has not arrived?

I was told this was abandonment.

Asked on January 26, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Iowa

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Most employment is "at will" which means that a business can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit (absent some type of legally actionable discrimination). This means that you can be fired for the reason that you cite, or for any reason, or for no reason at all. Therefore, while seemingly unfair, unless you want to lose your job you had better stay until your replacement arrives.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you may be fired for this. Your responsibility is to work whatever hours or shifts your employer tells you to, and to stay as late as they require: whether it is fair or not is relevant, since the law does not enforce (or care about) fairness at work. Unless you have a written employment contract setting your hours, you have to work whenever your employer tells you too, and so may be fired for not working when instructed to. Remember: except when there is a written employment contract, all employment in this country is "employment at will"--you only have a job so long as the employer chooses to employ you, and your employer, not you, controls and defines your job.


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