Can my employer force me to another shift after eliminating my position?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can my employer force me to another shift after eliminating my position?

I recently transferred to a new job location, specifically for third shift. The
company is eliminating that position in a couple of weeks, and is trying to force
me to work first or second shift, even though my availability is for 3rd shift
hours only. They will not lay me off, and have presented me with the options of
working the new hours or quitting. I do not have an employment contract nor is
there a union. If I am forced to quit, will I have a claim for unemployment as
my position was eliminated?

Asked on January 25, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Since you don't have either an employment contract or union agreement to protect you in this situation, I'm afraid that you are out of luck. The fact is that most employment is "at will" which means that a company can set the terms and conditons of the workplace much as it seems fit short of acionable discrimination. This means that it can schedule an empoyee as necessary. Bottom line, you have no right to be laid off, so you can either quit or work the hours for which you have been scheduled.

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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