Can an employer force an employee who has left the premises, to return to work following their regularly scheduled shift?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can an employer force an employee who has left the premises, to return to work following their regularly scheduled shift?

So as to not work more than 16 hours at a time, an employee needs to clock out. Due to staffing needs, this creates an opening that needs to be filled. However, it can happen where an employee clocks out with, say, 4 hours left on the shift. By our contract, least senior employees are mandated until all posts are filled. However, if someone leaves with 4 hours left, can the employer force the next least senior person, who has already gone home, to return to cover the remaining hours?

Asked on August 10, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unless the terms of the contract you refer to prohibit this, yes, the employer can. Except to the extent controlled by the plain terms of a contract, an employer determines when employees work and recall an employee who has already left for more work. Therefore, you need to review the exact terms of your contract to see what is permitted in this situation.

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