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ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 16347
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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I thought being PRN meant that they had to work u one shift

Customer Question

I thought being PRN meant that they had to work u one shift a month? I've been told that quite a bit by other people. I work for Carilion Healthcare here in VA and I have been passed over by a newer employee for more hours, a lot of hours! Carilion also
believes in the seniority policy and there again I have been here longer than her. I haven't worked in 3 months and I am getting very irate over this!! Can u plz verify if what I've been told is correct information or not? Thank you!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for using JustAnswer. I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Every facility is different with PRN work. PRN stands for pro re nata, latin for "as the situation demands", so in other words it means that shifts, scheduling, etc... is up to the employer. Virginia is an "at will" employment state. At-will employment means that without a contract, you have no contractual or other right to employment with the company. The company is entitled to fire you for any reason: a good reason, a poor reason, or no reason at all--as long as the company does not fire you for an illegal reason (race, gender, age, religion, etc...). But it extends beyond firing, to hiring, promotions, demotions, wage cuts and raises, disciplinary actions, and even scheduling. Unless you can show that this was done in violation of a contract, union agreement, or a clear violation of an unambiguous and binding clause against the employer, or that it was done because of some minority status (age, race, gender, religion, disability) that you have, then they do have this discretion. So while you need to commit to a certain number of hours / shifts for a specific time period (it could be 1 shift a month, or 1 shift every 6 weeks, etc... which is up to the facility that you work for) that doesn't mean that you're guaranteed a shift a month, etc... Rather, the obligation is (unfortunately) all on you, not on the employer. You have the obligation to work (if they have the work for you), but they don't have the obligation to provide the work. Now as far as seniority is concerned, they should comply with any seniority policies that they have in place. The problem is that even interpretation and enforcement of seniority policies are generally up to the discretion of the employer due to the at will employment doctrine, and the only real exception would be if you had a written contract that specifically said that you would have "dibs" over someone with fewer years of service. In that instance, there could be a breach of contract, but valuing such a breach (which would be needed if you were to sue) would be difficult, because as I said before, there's no guarantee that you'll work at all. You would need to prove that you necessarily would have had more money in your pocket, but-for the breach. Aside from that, while I agree that this is unethical, immoral and just wrong, it's not illegal. It's still up to the facility to set these requirements (there's no law that governs how often a PRN will work or what the commitment will be). I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but it is the law. I hope that clears things up anyway. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

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