Can your employer mandate that you work the next shift even if you don’t want to?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can your employer mandate that you work the next shift even if you don’t want to?

I work at a nursing home and every night someone calls out. They always to mandate me. Can my job mandate to work the next shift even if I don’t want to?

Asked on February 17, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Alaska


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Yes, your employer can require you to work a double shift, unless doing so violates the terms of an employment contract or union agreement (or the law since workers in certain professions such as truck drivers, pilots, etc. have limits as to how many shifts in a row that they can work). The fact is that most employment is "at will" which means that an employer can set the conditions of work much as it sees fit, absent legally actionable discrimination. For your part, you can either work the second shift, refuse but risk termination, or quit.

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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