You are here:

Employment Law/Work scheudle change

Advertisement


Question
My parents have worked for the same employer for over 5 years.  Their work hours are from 7:30a-3:30p, have one vehicle and ride to work together.  My father was notified yesterday that his work location will be changing to another building across town (new building the company owns) and his schedule will be changing to 9-5, however my mothers schedule will not be changing.  

They cannot afford to buy another vehicle to accommodate the shift in schedules and the difference in location.  Their employer has told them to “figure it out.  If one or both of you cannot accommodate, one or both will be fired”.

I know an employer can change a shift schedule at-will unless there is an existing work contract (union contract) in place.  However, can an employer force an employee to take on additional financial burdens (which they cannot afford) to accommodate the business?  If the employer can do this, would my mother or father qualify for unemployment if fired?

Answer
Kevin - An employer has almost no obligation to consider the ease with which an employee can get to a work site, and is free to fire employees for any reason including being unable to get to work on time or at all.  Is there no public transportation in your town?  Is there no other employee with whom your parents can catch a ride to work?  If the only possible way to get to work is by car, and one of your parents has no use of the car because the other takes it to work, it is possible that the one without the car could qualify for unemployment, but there has to be literally no other way of getting to the work site.  I would not go into a hearing for unemployment benefits without proof of how many alternatives to driving I investigated and determined would not work.  It would not be a strong case without such evidence.

Employment Law

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Margaret M. deMarteleire

Expertise

I can answer most questions about employment law, federal or state. I am an attorney, not an HR professional, so questions about HR careers, coursework, prospects, etc. are not within my scope.

Experience

Attorney for 20 years, currently working exclusively with employment law - FLSA, FMLA, federal contracts, pay, etc.

Education/Credentials
Temple University School of Liberal Arts, BA, Rhetoric & Communication, 1982 Temple University School of Law, JD, 1990 Certificate in HR, Cornell University ILR School, 2006

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.