What to do if my employer will not honor my court ordered visitation?

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What to do if my employer will not honor my court ordered visitation?

I normally work Tuesday through Saturday nights. I can work Monday through Friday every other week. Does my employer have the right to tell me that I have to work on a Saturday or Sunday of my visitation weekend when court divorce papers say that I get her every other weekend?

Asked on January 23, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Missouri

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Your divorce papers (including the visitation order) are only legally binding on you and your ex-spouse.  Accordingly, if your ex was refusing you visitation, then you could go to court and the judge could hold them in contempt of violating the order.  However, your employer was not a party to your divorce action, so it is not bound by the court's visitation order.  Therefore, if your employer will not give you the time off that you need to to see your child, that's its choice.  The reason is that most employment relationships are what is known as "at-will".  This means that an employer can hire or fire someone for any reason or no reason whatsoever, as well has increase/decrease salary/hours, promote/demote, and generally impose requirements as they see fit.  In turn, an employee can work for an employer or not, their choice. 

Note:  The exceptions to the above would be if there is a stated company policy contrary to the way in which your situation is being handled, or there is a union/employment agreement that does not allow for such action, or this situation has arisen due to some type of workplace discrimination. None of which seem to be the case here.


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