Can my employer force me to take a demotion if her new scheduled office hours for us conflict with my child care’s hours of operation?

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Can my employer force me to take a demotion if her new scheduled office hours for us conflict with my child care’s hours of operation?

A new boss came in and changed my work hours. I tried to arrange with her how i may leave 10 min early so im able to get my child from daycare. She gave me the ultimatum of changing my child care or take a demotion.

Asked on March 17, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Arkansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, employers are not required to accomodate an employee's child care (or other personal or family) needs. An employer may schedule an employee for any hours or shifts it likes, and if the employee cannot make those shifts, demote or terminate him or her.

IF the context makes it plain that this is nothing but a way to discriminate against, for example, a woman--e.g. you are the only employee whose hours are being changed, you're one of only few women in your department or doing your job, there is no legitimate business reason for the change, etc.--then that may constitute illegal discrimination. But if there is some non-discriminatory reason for the change--for example, it better works with customer/client schedules, or with coworkers, or even the boss him/herself--then this is most likely legal, and you would have to comply if you wished to avoid the consequences.


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