can your boss force and employee who is 32 hour a week by contract for the past 4 years and is going to school to become a 40 hours a week employee?

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can your boss force and employee who is 32 hour a week by contract for the past 4 years and is going to school to become a 40 hours a week employee?

The office that my wife works at accomodates other employees to go to school, but now they want my wife to start working on fridays (her normal day off to go to school). The boss is not respecting the contract that says she is a 32 hour a week employee.

Asked on May 30, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

A contract is a contract--what does your wife's say? If it says that she only needs to work 32 hours per week, AND that the office cannot change that at will, then they have to honor it.

On the other hand, if the contract says that hours are "subject to change" or something similar to that, then they can change her hours. (They might need to provide some notice or a period of time before they do--again, look at the contract.)

And if there's no actual "contract"--if your wife's office accomodated people's hours, but did so informally and without any written agreement--then they almost certainly have the right to change her hours; what a company did as a voluntary accommodation or courtesy, they can choose to undo.

(Though note: if the company is discriminating against your wife in some way, that'd be a different case. For example, do they still allow male employees to work shorter hours? Or do they allow people of a different religion or ethnicity to work different hours? In cases like that, there might be grounds to allege discrimination.)


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