Can an employer terminate you because you cannot work overtime, as it interferes with school?

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Can an employer terminate you because you cannot work overtime, as it interferes with school?

I am returning to college and my normal work shift is 6 am – 4 pm; I signed up for night classes not to interfere with that schedule. My employer now wants me to work 12 hour shifts, 6 am – 6 pm, and that overtime would prevent me from getting to my classes as some start at 5, some at 6. I explained to him that I had school this semester and he told me that he will probably have to let me go. Is this legal, can I be fired because I cannot work overtime because I am going to college?

Asked on August 9, 2011 Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Actually your employer can do this. It is within its rights to demand that you work scheduled shifts. An "at will" employer can hire and fire, as well as set the terms and conditions of the workplace, as it deems fit. Consequently unless you have an employment/union agreement that allows you to work certain hours, or there is a company policy covering this, or this situation as to do with some form of discrimination (i.e. others have been allowed but not you due to your race, age, religion, etc.), you have no actionable claim. 

In short, while its commendable that you are working to put yourself through school, it does not exclude you from working the hours that your employer mandates.


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