Reducing hours

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Reducing hours

I was asked by a supervisor could I come in 4 hours early before my shift because someone called off. I said I couldn’t; the next day I get a text that a one of my days were taken from me which reduced me to 32 hours. I am a good employee who has never had a disciplinary action against me. It’s not mandatory either for employees to come in early or work their off days. This particular supervisor has pulled this move before with other employees who don’t do him favors by coming in early or working their off days. He has even bragged about it. Is this legal to reduce my hours even though it’s not mandatory that I come in early? Or be bullied to work my off days?

Asked on January 15, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that most employment relationships are "at will", which means that a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit. Accordingly, a an employee can be terminated or otherwise disciplined (i.e. have their scheduled hours reduced) for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice. The exceptions would be if this treatment constitued some form of legally actionable discrimination (which in your case it does not appear to), or if it violated the terms of an employment contract or union agreement (which you did not indicate).

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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