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Is your wife an hourly employee? a salaried employee? an exempt employee? or a non-exempt employee?
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Under any other situation, there are certain federal and state labor laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act which would have protected her. However, as an hourly employee, the employer is allowed to change your wife's schedule absent an internal policy stating otherwise.
Is she part of a union?.
I am terribly sorry to hear that she is in this situation. it is a shame when the employer makes a decision without legitimacy, and one that can cause so much hardship on a family. However, that does not make the decision illegal. Unless, you can show that the reason he is doing this is in violation of her civil rights (i.e. the employer is discriminating against her because of her sex, race, color, national origin, age, religion, disability or as a result of retaliation for complaining of one of the above)
However, you may suggest to her that she speak to him and explain that she needs the pay for her family. By telling him this in a calm and positive tone, and explaining that she loves her job, the employer may allow her not to be forced to take this leave.
I wish I could tell you that you have legal recourse. You may have it if she can show that the employer is doing this as discrimination in violation of her civil rights.
However, it does not seem that the employer is treating her in this manner because of a protected category from what you have said so far.
This occured yesterday and i wanted to get some facts first. she ask if the time off would be paid and was told no
The likely situation, is that the employer noticed a decrease in her productivity, and because California is an at will state, the employer had a choice between terminating her employment, or allowing her to "recharge". However, if you believe that he only did this because of her race, her age, or her gender, (or another of the above listed categories) then you should contact an employment attorney in your area. If you decide to hire an attorney, a great resource is www.Martindale.com. This is a nationwide directory that is useful in finding highly qualified legal specialists in various fields of law. The lawyers in Martindale are not selected because they paid to be included, but rather because they have been rated by other attorneys as qualified experts in their field. Consider consulting with two or three different attorneys prior to selecting the one you feel most comfortable with. If you have a legitimate reason why the employer is violating one of her protected rights, the attorney would take this case on contingency which means that you would pay nothing out of pocket.
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I actually should just make sure that there is no written contract, that guarantees a minimum wage or number of hours. If so, then the employer cannot change this without the consent of your wife. If no contract exists, then everything above applies.
Then, generally, her employer can cut her hours without her consent.
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