Can my employer reduce my working hours without my consent?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Can my employer reduce my working hours without my consent?

I was hired to work 2-3x a week and as
needed but they reduced to 2 work
schedule only for the whole month of
October and they gave some hours to
others. Is it something to do when I
complained to them about my co-worker
who harassed me and also just last
week,I availed worker’s comp for work
incident? Pls. help me to address this
issue. Thank you.

Asked on October 1, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, your employer, not you, controls your hours and shifts and can change or reduce them at will, without your consent. This is a function of "employment at will"--just as they don't need your consent to terminate you, they don't need it to reduce your hours.
As for your complaint: was the harassment aimed at you due to your race, color, sex, national origin, disability status, religon, or sexual orientation? If so, then it would be illegal to punish you for reporting this prohibited harassment and you should contact the state's equal/civil right agency about filing a complaint.
But if this other employee simply doesn't like you personally for some reason, then he or she is allowed to harass you--the law does not require employees to get along or treat each other respectfully. Since the employee could harass you, it would be legal if the employer chose to take away hours from you for reporting it: an employer may favor one employee over another, as long as it is not for one of the discriminatory reasons mentioned above.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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