How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Patrick, Esq. Your Own Question
Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12801
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Type Your California Employment Law Question Here...
Patrick, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I work at a physicians office as the office manager. One

Customer Question

I work at a physicians office as the office manager. One month ago, my hours went from 32 to 24 hours a week. Based on the office schedule and availability of the physician, I choose to be off on Thursday [already off on Friday]. Today, I am told that I need to change the day off to a Wednesday. I want to know if the employer can dictate what hours I can work I have also accepted a position with another company to work the days that I have off , Thursday and Friday
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.

Unfortunately, employers have absolute discretion when it comes to scheduling and can schedule their employees in whatever manner suits the needs of their business. The only exception would be if the employer and employee entered into an express agreement providing a set schedule for a guaranteed period of time. In the absence of such agreement, employment is "at will" and thus terminable or subject to a change in terms at any time for virtually any reason.

An employee's sole leverage in this circumstance is the threat that they will leave the employment and exercise their "at will" right to terminate the employment relationship. You can take a stand against this schedule change and explain how you will be forced to leave if you are required to accept it, but if your employer wants to call your bluff they can replace you or simply insist on the change anyway.

I hope that you find this information helpful and am genuinely sorry if it is not what you were hoping to hear. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Would I be able to collect unemployment if I terminate the 'at will" for not being able to work the new schedule? I noticed it says California law and I live in Massachusetts
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your reply. I'm not sure why your question was classified into the CA employment section but I did see that you indicated you are in MA and my answer was based on MA, not CA law.

Your entitlement to unemployment would depend on whether you had good cause to refuse the schedule change. Good casue is judged on a case by case basis and so it is impossible to predict results, but the question that will be examined is whether you did everything a reasonable person would have done to remain employed. So, for example, if you didn't want to adopt the new schedule because you engage in a recreational softball league on the day you are now being asked to work that probably would not constitute good cause because a reasonable person would have prioritized work over their recreational commitments. But if your reason is due to child care obligations, that reason would likely be regarded as something that would cause a reasonable person genuinely desirous of remaining employed to refuse the change. Again, this is judged on a case by case basis so it is impossible to predict results. Hopefully this gives you a good idea how things are judged, though.

Again, 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.

Very best wishes.