Is it legal to stop giving someone hours without notice?

UPDATED: May 23, 2012

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Is it legal to stop giving someone hours without notice?

I work at a golf club. Starting a year ago, I worked up to 16 hour shifts. This winter events stopped as it is a golf club. Then 5 months go, I contacted my boss and she said events would start this month. However, so far nothing. I contacted my boss and she explained she hired new people but she “has my phone number”. This job was my main source of income last year and I did file taxes. Do I legally need to be fired? I cannot get health insurance or benefits because I “make too much money” though I don’t make nearly enough to survive. I am 19 years old.

Asked on May 23, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unless you had an employment contract, you were an employee at will. As an employee at will, not only could you be formally terminated at any time, for any reason, without notice, but your employer could simply reduce, or altogether cut out, your hours at any time, without notice.

If you have not been receiving hours, you most likely would be considered to have been "constructively" (or effectively) terminated; as such you may well be eligible for unemployment benefits and should probably file for them. Good luck.

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