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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12622
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I started working hotel as a part time job over a year and a

Customer Question

I started working for this hotel as a part time job over a year and a half ago. When I started I said that I could work any shift including graveyard shifts but that I was starting my own company (hence the part time work only) and that my status would change in a year or so as my company got busier and that graveyard shifts wouldn't be an option. The people who hired me were ok with that. Cut to present day, this new manager of my Dept has continued to schedule me graveyard shifts the past 3 months in addition to a normal shift and I have had to "call off" on the days I was scheduled to work graveyard. He basically has been setting me up to fail and has taken to discipline action by "writing me up" for excessive call offs. I told him about what was understood when I was hired and he ignores it. I am currently contracted to work 12 weeks at my company for casting a film and it's impossible for me to stay up 24 hrs and then work my casting job. I told my manager I could work Friday and Saturday on the graveyard cuz I don't have casting on the weekends but he disregards ***** ***** well. I will need this part time job when my casting gig is over. It's stressing me out and giving me many nights of no sleep. Do I have any discourse? Can I file a civil law suit for emotional distress?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: 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.

I am very sorry to hear about this situation, but unfortunately it is not one for which you would typically have any legal recourse. The understanding you and your employer had at the onset of your employment did not impose binding legal restrictions on your employer. The employment remained "at will" (the default presumption in CA) and as such your employer is free to change the terms of your employment (or keep them the same, despite your needs for a more flexible schedule) to suit the demands of its business. If you cannot meet the needs of your employer, then your employer is free to replace you with someone who can.

I realize this puts you in a tough spot, because you need a lighter schedule now but you want to keep the job for the future. But it is up to your employer to accommodate that. They are not legally required to, and if they would rather replace you with someone who is easier for them to schedule or who is not running another business they can. No law says they have to accommodate you, and there is no basis for a lawsuit against your employer in this circumstance.

Your recourse is unfortunately limited to dealing with this on a practical interpersonal level. I truly wish I could tell you otherwise, but this is the legal reality of the situation. I hope you will appreciate my candor in being direct about this.

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.
Thank you.
One other thing, I was hired as part time but on 14 different occasions (that's 14 different weeks) I was scheduled for "full time" hours and I accommodated the hotel and worked it around my company's casting project I was doing even though I was ONLY part time. I accommodated tg and feel that they should at least take it into consideration on my part.
As well the manager who has scheduled me has created such tension between us and when I wasn't being my usual self, he commented to me "What's the matter, didn't get laid last night"?! He said this when he and I were only present. I know it's my word against his but he seems to have a vendetta against me.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for you reply.

Being hired "part time" does not have any legal significance. As an employee, your hours can be changed at any time and you can be asked to perform full time work if it is what the business requires. It's bad management to do something like that, and most employers will certainly take into account the fact that you responded to their need for you to work additional hours when considering whether to accommodate your need for reduced hours in the future, but again, it's just not required.

As for the comment about getting laid, that was certainly inappropriate but a single comment like that is not going to rise to the level of sexual harassment, nor would I imagine that it caused you to suffer emotional distress, which would be a requirement for collecting any sort of damages arising from it.

Typically in these situations it's best to keep things amicable and remind the employer what you have done for them with the hope that they will deal with you in good faith and provide flexibility in terms of scheduling when you need it.

I hope this helps. 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.