What can I do about unfair treatment and termination at my job?

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What can I do about unfair treatment and termination at my job?

I work as a CNA in a rehabilitation center, on a Sunday at 2:00 pm I was told that I was mandated for the next shift. Due to circumstances at home with my children, I had to refuse this mandate as I had no sitter or no way to get someone with that amount of notice. I spoke to the supervisor, as several other staff had also refused. Another CNA took a call to unit from the assistant stating I was to turn in my badge as I was suspended. On Wednesday of that week I went in to work to speak with my supervisor about situation and was told that I had walked out and quit. That was not the case as several other staff

know. Now it has been several weeks and I’m out of a job, while I am awaiting

out union to assist me with this situation, I’ve gotten no where and can’t afford to not be working. I would appreciate any insight you have on this matter or further direction on what to do.

Asked on March 4, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If there is a union contract, you have to see what it says about discipline, suspension, termination, refusing shifts, etc.--if there is a contract and its terms cover this situation, its terms will control and you can enforce them (e.g. in a court of law) if  necessary.
But if there is no union contract in force at this time, or the contract doesn't cover this situation, then refusing to work a shift is grounds for  termination "for cause" (for insubordiantion or refusing employer directives/instructions) or could be considered to be resignation (walking out when you are supposed to work is tantamount to resigning). It doesn't matter if other people also refused and were not disciplined the same--the law does *not* require employers to be fair, or treat all employees the same. And it also does not matter if you had not sitter--yes, leaving work when your children are at home is perfectly understandable, but the employer is *not* required to care about your children  and can order you to work even when you need to watch them. Without a contract in your favor, you have no right "refuse this mandate" to work, unfortunately.


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