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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 33554
Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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Hello, I have a job that requires long dustance travel (up

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I have a job that requires long dustance travel (up to 35% per year and up to 3 weeks away per month). When I joined the department, no travel policy for the department existed and we went by common practice.

Over the last couple of weeks, our department's leader has expressed multiple attempts to change the travel expectations for a perceived benefit to the company:
- We used to fly out on Monday mornings and fly back on Fri at a time that would allow us to have dinner at home.... Now she wants us to travel on Sundays and to stay in the office for as long as possible on Fri even if that means having to get home at midnight.
- We used to go home every weekend with the exception of trips to Europe or the west coast.... Now she wants us to not fly home every weekend because too much time is spent traveling and not being in the office.
- We used to take car service to the airport which is 1+ hours away from home... Now she wants us to drive ourselves at 4:00 or 5:00 am on Mondays, leave the car for week(s) parked at the airport, and then drive back ourselves after flying on Fridays.

This situation is becoming unbearable. I'd like to know what rights i have as a full time salaried employee to stick to the way I've always traveled for this job and to not have to bend over backwards and completely ruin my overall balance and well being.

Thank you for the help.

JD 1992 :

Hello and thank you for contacting Just Answer. I am an expert here and I look forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.

JD 1992 :

Do you have a written contract?

Customer: No
JD 1992 :

Unfortunately, CT is an employment at will state which means that an employer has the right to change anything about the job at any time unless there is a union contract or a written contract of employment.

Customer: Ok, I understand
Customer: however, I assume there are some limits somewhere
Customer: like they couldn't tell me to be in the office 24 hrs per day
JD 1992 :

Not many. They can't change your pay for time you have already worked and they can;t do anything that discriminates because of age, race, gender, etc.

JD 1992 :

There actually are no limits on the amount of time they can require you to work although at some point they may edge past where they can call it salary and have to start paying overtime.

Customer: Asking me to give more hours of my personal life and to use my car (which was not required when I was hired) seems a bit outlandish
JD 1992 :

The courts have generally said that the only remedy an employee has is to quit.

JD 1992 :

The way the courts have bent over backwards in favor of employers is ridiculous.

Customer: Hm I see
JD 1992 :

The only real limitations are those set by federal law for things like operating heavy machinery, etc.

JD 1992 :

Other than that neither the state nor the feds limit the amount of hours, how many in a row, etc.

Customer: What about when it comes to them firing me? I know again the employment at will comes into play but would me refusing to comply with these demands be considered an offense that could justify firing me?
JD 1992 :

They can fire you for any reason so long as it isn't discriminatory.

JD 1992 :

As far as being able to collect unemployment I have been able to successfully argue when radical changes like this are made that it is akin to dissolving an old job and starting a new one and therefore you qualify for unemployment but it is not guaranteed by any means.

JD 1992 :

I think you could get one.

Customer: I understand what you are saying but based on my 8 years in the corporate world, it looks like a big case needs to be built first prior to firing someone
JD 1992 :

No, that's a myth. It is incredibly easy to fire someone and incredibly difficult to sue because of it.

Customer: I see
Customer: What would be your recommendation in my situation? Either sit back and comply or find a new job?
JD 1992 :

Some companies make a big deal out of it but it is because they don't know the law and they heard or read somewhere that you have to be careful.

JD 1992 :

Those are really your only two choices.

Customer: I see, thank you
JD 1992 :

I think there is a reasonable chance you can draw unemployment until you find another job but jobs are hard to come by for most industries right now.

JD 1992 :

We get questions similar to your all the time on here because employers know they have a strong position right now.

Customer: What about something around me being forced to use my personal vehicle? I would say there is liability involved
JD 1992 :

We constantly hear about them reducing pay for the same job, requiring more hours, reducing benefits, etc.

Customer: I see
JD 1992 :

There is an issue there but not one that will help you in a lawsuit. You could check your insurance policy to see if there is an exclusion if you are using the car for business. If so, then you could argue for unemployment that this is the equivalent of making you take a major cut in pay or requiring you to take an unneeded chance.

JD 1992 :

There is an argument, I've never seen it used, that this would be a breach of public policy.

JD 1992 :

Since they would be almost forcing you to drive a car that wasn't insured for that.

JD 1992 :

Did you have any additional questions?

Customer: I think I am fine. Thank you
JD 1992 :

Oh, the only other thing I see is that in CT employees can;t be fired if they refuse to work under dangerous conditions. I don't think that applies here but I still wanted to tell you.

Customer: Ok, thank you
JD 1992 :

I wish I had been able to give you more positive news but Employment Law is one of those areas where it usually is negative, unfortunately.

JD 1992 :

You're welcome and best wishes to you on this and please don't forget to leave a Positive Rating (of course I’d suggest Excellent!) so I get credit for my work.

JD 1992 :

I am going to exit now to assist others.

Dwayne B. and 8 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you very much for the Positive Rating. Please come back and visit us if you have any new questions and feel free to ask for me by placing “FOR JD 1992” in the subject line or as the first words of your question and I will pick up as soon as I see it.