How much advance notice must be given to mandate employees to do unscheduled hours?

UPDATED: Sep 3, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 3, 2011Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

How much advance notice must be given to mandate employees to do unscheduled hours?

My employer likes to mandate employees to work hours outside their scheduled shifts to fill gaps that were they didn’t have others scheduled or other employees have called in. They call us and mandate with very little to no notice at all. No option to refuse hours for any reason. We are not paid to be on call and receive no additional compensation for our inconvenience. Is this a legal practice?

Asked on September 3, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First of all, as to the last minute schedule shifts, an "at will" employer has a great deal of discretion in mandating the terms and conditions of employment. Basically, it can hire/fire, promote/demote and increase/decrease salary/hours as it deems fit, with or without notice. An employee in turn can choose to work (or continue to work) for an employer or not. So basically unless you have an employment/union agreement to the contrary, or this action violates existing company policy, or is the result of actionable discrimination, your employer has violated no laws. 

As for on-call compensation, if an employee must be on-call outside of the work place, then they may have to be paid pay for those hours. If the employee has constraints placed on them such that they have little/no control of such time (i.e. they cannot use for their own enjoyment/benefit) then that employee should be paid. Generally, the more restrictions that are on an employee, the more likely it is that they should be paid.

Without more details, it's hard to say. You may want to contact your state's department of labor for further information.

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption