Can my employer force me to work Saturday and Sunday, giving me 1 day off during the week?

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Can my employer force me to work Saturday and Sunday, giving me 1 day off during the week?

My regular work week is Monday through
Friday. They want to change my hours so I
would have to work the entire weekend. I
can not attend any church service during
the week. I need either Saturday or Sunday
off. Can they legally force this on me?

Asked on October 10, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Minnesota

Answers:

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

First of all, does this new work schedule violate the terms of an employment contract or union agreement? If so, then you have immediate recourse against this action. If not, you still may have rights. It depends on just how critical Saturday/Sunday work is to the position for which you were hired. Under federal law, an employer must make "reasonable" accomodations for an employee's religion. A reasonable accomodation is one that will not cause an "undue burden", that is one that is not too expensive or disruptive. So, if you are an office worker who normally works M-F and was hired to do that, you could not be fired for not going in over the weekend when your employer wanted you to do extra work. On the other hand, if you are a server and was hired to work during a restaurant's busiest days, which includes the weekends, then you could be fired for refusing to work that time since you are refusing to do the job for which you were hired. At this point, you can consult directly with a local employment law attorney who can best advise you further after reviewing all of the details of your situation.

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

First of all, does this new work schedule violate the terms of an employment contract or union agreement? If so, then you have immediate recourse against this action. If not, you still may have rights. It depends on just how critical Saturday/Sunday work is to the position for which you were hired. Under federal law, an employer must make "reasonable" accomodations for an employee's religion. A reasonable accomodation is one that will not cause an "undue burden", that is one that is not too expensive or disruptive. So, if you are an office worker who normally works M-F and was hired to do that, you could not be fired for not going in over the weekend when your employer wanted you to do extra work. On the other hand, if you are a server and was hired to work during a restaurant's busiest days, which includes the weekends, then you could be fired for refusing to work that time since you are refusing to do the job for which you were hired. At this point, you can consult directly with a local employment law attorney who can best advise you further after reviewing all of the details of your situation.


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