Can your place of employment fire you for having to leave 1 1/2 hours early to attend college?

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Can your place of employment fire you for having to leave 1 1/2 hours early to attend college?

I am working full-time at a daycare and will also be a full-time student in 2 weeks. I work 7:30 am – 6:30 pm with a 3 hour break. My boss is saying I am going to get fired because I need to leave at 5 pm, 3 days a week to attend classes at my community college. I am taking all on-line classes that I could get on-line and I have a lab that I have to be at twice a week from 5:30-7 pm.

Asked on August 8, 2011 Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Absolutely your employer can discharge you for this. It is well within its rights to demand that you work your full shift. The fact is that an "at will" employer can hire and fire, as well as set the terms and conditions of employment, as it sees fit. So unless you have a union/employment contract that allows you to take off early, or there is a company policy covering this, or this situationas to do with some form of discrimination (i.e. others have been allowed but not you due to your race, age, religion, etc.), you have no legal claim. 

In short, while its commendable that you are working to put yourself through school, it does not exclude you from working the hours that your employer deems necessary.


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