Can an employer tell me that I’m going to be terminated but still schedule me to work?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can an employer tell me that I’m going to be terminated but still schedule me to work?

I’m trying to find info for my 21 year old daughter. She works at a local hospital as a CNA. She called in sick on Monday and the following Friday during her regular shift her manager told her that a meeting has been set up the following Monday with HR and the director of her department to talk about her termination. This did come as a surprise because she has never been written up or warned for anything. They are still continuing to schedule shifts for her and she has shown up for every shift. The meeting that was scheduled was supposed to happen this morning and her director cancelled the meeting not giving any kind of reason. She is now scheduled to work tonight and the next few nights and has not been able to get any answers from her

direct manager. Is this legal for them to tell her that she is going to be terminated yet still scheduling her to work? I personally dont think its right to be stringing her along due to the stress she is under but I haven’t been able to find any laws regarding this. She doesn’t want to lose her job as she lives on her own and has

bills and rent to pay. She’s not sure if she should be seeking employment elsewhere as her direct manager is pretty much avoiding her and not giving her any answers.

Asked on December 3, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It is unprofessional and unfair, but legal, unless your daughter has a written employment contract to the contrary (i.e. one giving her protections or rights in this situation). The problem is, without a contract, your daughter is an "employee at will," and an employee at will has essentially no rights at work or to a job; as the term "at will" implies, the employer can terminate her at any time, for any reason, with no notice if they chose...or conversely, can tell her that she will be fired or lose her job, but not when, and keep scheduling her for work in the meantime. Basically, employment at will is day by day--you could lose your job at any time, with or without warning, and you can't count on holding your employment in the future. Even employers with whom you think you have a good relationship can decide to terminate you.
It would probably be a good idea for your daughter to start looking quietly for another job.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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