Is it legal to hold an employee accountable for working when the schedule to work is not posted prior to the start of the work week?

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Is it legal to hold an employee accountable for working when the schedule to work is not posted prior to the start of the work week?

Employee does not show up to work as the schedule had not been posted before the start

of the work week and the last day worked was the last day of the posted schedule.

Asked on August 20, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Kentucky

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Do you have an employment contract or union/collective bargaining agreement that prohibits holding a worker accountable for missing a shift due to lack of notice? Is such notice the result of some form of legally actionable discrimination or retaliation? If not, while seemingly unfair, it is legal to hold an employee accountable for not showing up to work due to a last minute shift change. The fact is that most employment is known as "at will". This means that a company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. For their part, an employee can either accept their working conditions, complain and risk termination, or quit.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If the employee does not have a written employment contract, he is an "employee at will." That in turn means he could be discriplined (i.e. "held accountable") for *any* reason whatsoever, including failing to work on a day he did not know about in advance. The unfortunate fact is, employees at will--which include the vast majority of us--have no rights in or to, and no protections for, their jobs, and can be demoted, suspended, have shifts/hours changed, have pay cut, or even be terminated at any time, for any reason.


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