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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Dear Attorney, I have an ice cream shop in California. 1.

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Dear Attorney,
I have an ice cream shop in California.
1. Some of my employees (mostly school/college kids) send me text message a few hours before scheduled shift that they can't make it due to broken car,appointment, etc. It increases my work significantly to find replacement. To control such behavior, I plan to give feedback to such employees that they will be allowed to miss one shift on 24-hour notice and after that they will not longer be employed. Could they file any law suit against such warning?
2. Two of my employees work only 1 or 2 shifts per week to gain experience. They don't care much about job and just doing for fun. They are not typically available when I check with them for availability to cover someone's shift. However, now in summer both of them are off from school so they have sent me to give more hours during summer. I don't want to give them more hours but want to give more hours to members who are more available always and willing to take shifts. If I don't give additional hours to these 2 employees, could there any legal ground for discrimination against me?

Good morning and thank you very much for your questions. With regard to your policy about absences, the only thing I would add to it is a clause which permits absence on shorter notice for medical emergencies, if supported by a doctor's note. This is because CA law requires employers to reasonably accommodate employees suffering from significant health conditions. While it would be unlikely, a banket policy resulting in termination of truly sick or injured employees without any effort to determine whether the absence can be accommodated may be construed as running afoul of this law.

With regard to your second question, no claim for discrimination could arise from your decision to give additional hours to the employees who are better workers and have always been asking for more work. "Discrimination" claims arise only when the basis for adverse treatment is a legally protected trait, such as an employee's race, religion, or gender. So, while it would be illegal for you to give more shifts to the caucasion employees over the minority employees, it would not be illegal for you to favor employees who have always been able to work more over the employees who just got out of school and who are not taking the job as seriously as they should.

As always, please feel free to let me know if you have any further concerns. If I have answered your question, I would be very grateful for a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you.

Kindest regards.
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