Can my employer tell me I cannot work certain days and times because another individual refuses to work with me?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can my employer tell me I cannot work certain days and times because another individual refuses to work with me?

Recently I had a disagreement with a
doctor in my practice. I asked her to
stop being so rude to me, she got
offended. She went to our boss and told
him she refuses to work with me anymore,
and that it was either her or me. She is
a doctor, I am a technician. Therefore I
am much more expendable.
My boss calls me today to tell me I
cannot work my scheduled shift tomorrow,
and I will not be getting paid. I am not
suspended, there’s nothing written, and
the only reason I cannot work is because
it will be with the other doctor.
My boss is also telling my that I must
change my entire schedule if I want
hours to accommodate her schedule. Which
means I can work 1-3 days a week maximum
that are outside my availability.
Is any of this legal? And aren’t I
entitled to my pay for tomorrow with
less than 24 hour notice? My employee is
in warwick, ri

Asked on August 31, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Rhode Island


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, these actions are perfectly permissable unless they violate the terms of any employment or union agreement that you may have. The fact is that most work is "at will" which means that a business can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit (absent some form of legally actionable discrimination). Accordingly, a company can change an empoyee's shifts, salary, work duties, etc. as it deems appropriate. 

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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