Can my employer require me to deploy across the country for an undetermined amount of time?

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Can my employer require me to deploy across the country for an undetermined amount of time?

My employer is requiring me to deploy across country for an undetermined amount of time to fill in for strike situation. First of all, I have an established life outside of work that I can not be away from for an “undetermined time period”. Secondly, they are requiring me to cross picket lines that they are providing security for. Thirdly, they are making me work 12 hour days for 6 days a week. My contracted job is for 40 hour/5 day weeks. This is all being presented under the understanding that if I do not comply that I will be terminated. Have a 18 year, trouble free employment with the company an feel that this is an unreasonable request. I do not feel this is a safe and or ethical situation that they are requiring me to preform. Wondering how this can be legal for them to do.

Asked on June 20, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Nevada

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) First, you say that you have a contract, or at least imply that you do. If you do have an employment contract, it's terms control--that is, the company has to honor any terms relating to termination, transfer, what job you may have or where  you would work, hours worked, etc. If there is no contract, or the contract does not address these issues, then:

2) A company may, unless bound contractually and so long as it is not discriminating (see below) transfer an employee, and the company does not have to take any cognizance of his, or his family's, life outside work. If you don't take the transfer, you can be fired.

3) You can be asked to do any job task, including crossing picket lines, that is not itself illegal; if you don't, you may be fired.

4) You can be asked to work more than 40 hours a week, though if you are a nonexempt employee (i.e. one who can get overtime), you'd have to be paid overtime for the hours over 40.

So the key issue in regards to the above is whether you do have an actual contract and what it says. (Note: by contract, I also mean a union agreement relating to your job.) If you do, you have to look to what it says; but to the extent not prohibited by the contract, the company may transfer you, have to cross lines, and have you work 72 hours a week (as long as they pay overtime, if applicable.)

Companies may not, however, discriminate against protected categories. If you believe you are being treated differently or negatively due to your race, religion, sex, age over 40, or disability, you may have a discrimination claim and should consult with an employment attorney.


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