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My wife works for a small agency that has no HR department.

Hi there! My...

Hi there! My wife works for a small agency that has no HR department. The director keeps changing the performance expectations. One of those is essentially that every week you are expected to hit a certain amount billed and a certain number of clinical hours (therapy sessions mostly). It even applies if you take PTO - so if you want to take 3 days off with PTO you have to fit all your sessions and hours into 2 days. It makes it virtually impossible to take time off. Even holidays where the facility is closed don't change that. If it's a four day week, you have to get all your hours in. So every week is a 40 hour work week (usually more) regardless of PTO or holidays (which cost PTO).

Lawyer's Assistant: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

Ohio

Lawyer's Assistant: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?

Full time. Not sure what "at will" means?

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I don't think so?

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Answered in 4 minutes by:
3/13/2018
Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20,567
Experience: Employment/Labor Law Litigation
Verified

Thank you for trusting your question to JA today. I am a licensed attorney with over a decade of law practice and over 20 years of experience in the legal field. I’m happy to be of assistance. (The system will automatically generate a phone call request to you. Unless I specifically state, during our discussion, that a phone call is possible, I intend to just use this chat format as I am not in a position to accept a phone call).

I didn't see a question, but I think it's safe to say you want to know if this is legal. Regrettably, it is. An employer is not legally required to have a PTO policy at all. Holidays aren't actually required either. These are things that good employers do, but they don't have to and because of that, they have a great deal of control over how their PTO policies work.

An employer also has a great deal of control over their expectations in an "at will" employment situation. You stated you didn't know that that was, so I'll explain. "At will" employment is pretty much everyone's employment. In this country, unless you have a contract of employment which guarantees your job, restricts how the employer can end your job and restricts how the employer can change your job, your job is "at will." At will means that the employer can legally alter your terms of employment (pay, PTO, expectations, title, etc) at any time, with or without cause. It also means you can be terminated without cause. This describes 99% of American's employment and is the default status for almost all of us.

So, unfortunately, nothing you have described is illegal. Unfair, sure, but not illegal.

If you have any further questions or other facts that you would like me to consider, please let me know. I invite follow up questions, so use REPLY for those. If you have no further questions then good luck going forward and please do not forget to rate my service with a three, a four or preferably a five star rating so that I receive credit for working with you today. Please rate me based on my service and not on your satisfaction with the law, which I am not in control of and I am just reporting to you. Please DON’T rate my service until after you have asked any follow up questions that you have, so that I have the best opportunity to earn all 5 stars. Also, feel free to request me in the future, if you have questions concerning a different matter.

Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20,567
Experience: Employment/Labor Law Litigation
Verified
Allen M., Esq. and 87 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I think that answers it well. I didn't expect it to be illegal, but it certainly is unfair. I did not know the definition of "at will" and the implied scope of the employers power to change all those related aspects of employment.With the lack of an HR department, and a supervisor without too much influence over an irrational director, it sounds like there is little recourse for improving the situation. My guess is ultimately this will result in the employees exercising their "at will" privilege to leave the agency (my wife in particular). So I don't believe I have any further questions. You have been quite helpful and I will be happy to rate your services.

Even with an HR department, that wouldn't help. HR departments are a sham. They aren't there to neutrally enforce any sort of law. Nothing in statutes requires the creation of an HR department, so they are not legally controlled. HR works for the employer and their function is to protect the employer, sometimes by making employees behave correctly, but more often by masking the truth of what is happening.

I agree that the behavior will result in people leaving, and regrettably, that is what the law relies on to make employers behave reasonably.

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