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Tina, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 33167
Experience:  JD, 17 years experience & recognized by ABA for excellence in employment law.
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can preference be given to a new, volunteer worker over someone

Resolved Question:

can preference be given to a new, volunteer worker over someone with seniority that gets paid?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Tina replied 5 years ago.
Hello and welcome,

Preferance as to what?

Do you have any reason to believe you may have been discriminated against on the basis of your race, age (40 or older), gender, disability, or something else?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
sorry, did you get that or did I screw-up?
Expert:  Tina replied 5 years ago.
I didn't receive a response from you, sorry.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
oops! I'll try again. This new person has been given any and all shifts that have become available in the last 3 mos. (they are also the best "money" shifts we have) I am a bartender and I work for a non-profit org. I also feel that my boss is trying to coerce me into offering to work for free.
Expert:  Tina replied 5 years ago.
I see.

Unless you have a contract stating otherwise, such as a collective bargaining agreement, the employer is not compelled to give preference to existing employees typically.

The employer is prohibited from discriminating against employees based on race, gender, age, disability, or other protected status. If the employer is not violating anti-discrimination laws though or an employee contract, they are normally free to prefer volunteers or other non-employees in scheduling unfortunately.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
do you think there is cause for my feeling coerced? Also, (I don't know if this is a whole seperate matter) if an employeer changes to "all volunteer" as opposed to payroll, can they keep anyone on payroll?
Expert:  Tina replied 5 years ago.
I certainly understand that you would feel like you are not valued and have been treated unfairly.

Employers are permitted to use volunteers rather than employees for tasks in which they had previously used employees. That is not illegal typically.

Employees cannot legally be coerced into volunteering though. That would normally be illegal and the employee should file a complaint for wages owed with the state labor board.

Here is a link that sets out relevant state code with regard to volunteers:

All the best to you and happy holidays!

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