Can your employer change your scheduled hours without notice?

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Can your employer change your scheduled hours without notice?

If a person is hired as an hourly supervisor (Monday through Friday 7 a. m. to 4 p.m.) can the company suddenly change your hours to whenever they want you there (employed for 16 years)? What about the associates who go to college after work or weekends? What about the family that has only one car? What about the associates who have a second job? Can an employer legally change your hours and you have to put your life on hold and be available to them 24/7?

Asked on February 26, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, in fact an employer can do this.  While seemingly unfair, it is legal.  In most states employment relationships are what is known as "at-will"; MA among them.  What this means is that 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.  An employee in turn can work for an employer, or not, their choice. Exceptions to this would be if there is a stated company policy that is contrary to this, or there is a union/employment agreement that does not allow for such action, 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).


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