Speak Up! - View Question #22626
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Question: 1 hr before my scheduled time to work, my boss called to change my day to allow someone else to work so they could have a different day off. Can my boss legally change my schedule like that? Does he have to pay me for a minimum amount of time since I was already on my way to work that day?
Yes, your boss can probably change your schedule. No, he does not have to pay you for a minimum amount of time since you were on your way to work. Here’s why:
Changing your schedule
Most jobs in Arizona fall under the concept of “at-will” employment. At-will employment means the employer and the employee have equally bargained for the working relationship and either can terminate the employment relationship at any time. This gives employers the freedom to run their business as they decide is necessary to be profitable while allowing an employee to quit at any time if s/hedoesn’t like what the employer is doing.
There are both State and Federal laws to protect kids from working at dangerous jobs or during school hours and at ages which would keep them from getting an education. Arizona law covers what times of day a kid may work when enrolled in school, types of work not allowed for kids to perform, and ages when a child may become employed. (A.R.S. §§ 23-230, et seq.). Federal law has similar rules in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for types of work and ages at which kids may perform certain jobs in its child labor provisions. The bottom line is that your boss may change your work hours without giving prior notice or asking for your consent. It could also be that your employer needed to make changes for another employee, and hopefully he would treat you in the same manner should you need a schedule change. While it would have been more considerate had s/he first, sometimes these situations occur. Remember that everyone has bad days from time to time, but if your boss is being rude and inconsiderate on a constant basis, you may want to consider employment elsewhere.
Please note: If your employer is continually treating you differently than other employees, you may need to evaluate if you are being discriminated against for any reason. If you think that you are, contact the Industrial Commission of Arizona for more information.
Generally your employer is not obligated to pay you for the time you spend traveling to work unless it is part of the job itself and benefits the employer. For example, if the employee has to travel while on the job, (delivering pizzas, going to a training, visiting customers, etc.), then travel time is paid. You can visit The U.S. Department of Labor YouthRules! to find out more about child labor laws. You can also phone your local Wage and Hour Division Office. These offices can be found in the blue pages of your telephone directory or you can call 1-866-4US-WAGE (1-866-487-9243).