Can my employer threaten to demote me and take away my health benefits?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Can my employer threaten to demote me and take away my health benefits?

I was hired full-time and allowed to pick my schedule. My days have always been Sunday-Thursday evenings. I was allowed to have Friday and Saturday off, and they agreed to employee me on those terms. Due to medical issues, I require a second job, sometimes I pick up a third job. I do those jobs on Fridays and Saturdays. My employer came to me and threatened to demote me to part-time effective immediately, mentioning me losing my health benefits because they know how much I desperately need them for my knee injury if I did not agree to have open availability on Friday and Saturday, OR they would have to find someone else. I said that isn’t possible for me because I nee a second job to afford my bills and I can’t change my availability with the other job. They mentally harassed me to the point where I said, fine, I’ll work it because I have no choice with my medical conditions. I soon got an email from my manager, which I did not see until

last minute, asking for a confirmation of me working those days. Then, I got an email from HR, stating since I haven’t communicated to them if I will agree to their terms, they are forced to demote me to part time and I will lose all benefit eligibility and that it would be effective 3 days from the email. I replied back saying I did agree in person to their terms. I feel as if I was threatened to change my second job around them or else they would take my health benefits away from me that I am relying on, even though those were not the days they agreed to when they decided to hire me. Is this legal?

Asked on October 15, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is legal.
1) Your employer may change the terms of your employment, including the days your work at will, unless you had an actual written contract guarantying or locking in those days. In the absence of a contract, your schedule is at your employer's discretion.
2) Employer 1 is not required to accommodate Employer 2 (or 3, etc.) or the empoyee's need for a second or third job. They can require you to put them first.

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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