Can your boss threaten to fire you if you cannot come in on a day you are not available to work?

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Can your boss threaten to fire you if you cannot come in on a day you are not available to work?

My boss has threatened to demote me because I cannot come into work for one of our inventory days because I have school and I told him I am not available and will not be ditching school for work.

Asked on March 3, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, the fact is that an employer can generally set the terms and conditions of an employment relationship. This includes having an employee work on their scheduled days off (as well as work mandatory overtime).  Unless this violates stated company policy or a union/employment agreement, or this situation has arisen due to some type of discrimination (i.e., for reasons due to your race, religion, age, disability, sex, national origin), your employer's policy is perfectly legal.  In "at will" employment (which is what most employment relationships are), an employer can hire or fire someone for any reason or no reason whatsoever, as well has increase/decrease salary/hours, promote/demote, and generally impose requirements as they see fit.  In turn, someone can work for an employer or not.  It's their choice. 

Note:  Federal law requires that non-exempt employees be paid overtime when they work more than 40 hours a week. 


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