Can I be suspended for going home upon completing my task on a holiday?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I be suspended for going home upon completing my task on a holiday?

I was informed that I will be working Thanksgiving holiday for 6 hours or until the mail was completed. Upon completion of the mail I was instructed to go work in another department that also didnt have any mail. I went home for the day and the took my holiday pay? I worked my full shift before and after the holiday. However, my contract as a mail handler assistant states that I’m only guaranteed 4 hours and upon completion of the work tasks I will be sent home. The supervisor was forcing everyone to miss their Thanksgiving because he had to know that I can’t prove but regardless of the fact, can they revoke my holiday pay and suspend me?

Asked on December 6, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Ignoring your contract for a moment, they could do this: except to the extent that you have enforceable rights in a written employment contract, your employment would be "employment at will." An "employee at will" may be suspended (or demoted, transferred, pay cut, or even terminated) at any time, for any reason whatsoever--including going home after completing a task on a holiday.
You mention a contract: you need to review exactly what it says, since contracts are enforced according to their plain terms. IF the contract prevents from being suspended or losing pay for this reason (e.g. it gave you a right to go home when you did), then you could sue to enforce the terms of the contract (assuming the employer does not voluntarily reverse its actions) and get whatever (e.g. holiday pay) you are entitled to--possibly suing in small claims court, for example, to minimize costs. But this only if the contract clearly protects you, since, as stated, you essentially have only those right at work which a written contract gives you.

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