Can your employer make you stay for another shift if it’s not in the handbook and if you don’t have a union?

UPDATED: Mar 18, 2012

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Can your employer make you stay for another shift if it’s not in the handbook and if you don’t have a union?

I work at a nursing home as a CNA. If the next shift calls off our company is pulling names out of a hat and forcing someone to stay for another 8 hour shift. They are also threatening us by saying that if we don’t stay over they will call the nurse registry and have our licenses taken for abandonment.

Asked on March 18, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Two different issues here:

1) Can your employer require you to work an extra shift, even if its not in the handbook? Almost certainly yes--so long as you do not have an employment contract specifying or limiting your hours, your employer can require you to work extra hours or extra shifts. Of course, if you are an hourly employee, you must be paid for all hours worked, and paid overtime when working more than 40 hours in a week.

2) Can they have your licenses taken away for abandonment--that depends on the specific facts of that situation and the rules delineating when a nurse has abandoned his/her patients and what the consequences for doing so are. One could imagine circumstances under which this is a credible threat--and circumstances under which it is not.

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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