Who's shift is it?

I asked a co-worker if he could work my shift the next day, upon his agreement, we aproached our manager for his approval(Company Policy). Unfortunately, I did not return home until late the next evening, to find a message from the co-worker stating he would not be able to work the shift and two from my work wondering where I was. The following day, I arrived at work, only to be told by the assistant, I was being written up for No call No show and suspended for 3 working days. I told him that the manager approved this shift change and it was unfair that I was being suspended for this. I signed and wrote down, the manager approved the shift change, the shift was given to my co-worker and I felt it was un-fair. Am I at fault for not checking my messages, sooner? Or is this an act of discrimination, since my co-worker did not get suspended? I would like to know if there is a law for this type of situation? Thank you for your time.

1 answer  |  asked Jan 8, 2006 09:46 AM [EST]  |  applies to Arizona

Answers (1)

Francis Fanning
At will Employment means Fairness is Optional

Your question seems to assume that employers have an obligation to treat employees fairly. When you work in the private sector, you employment can be terminated at will, with or without a reason. Hence, discipline for a reason you believe is unfair does not give you any legal recourse.
The fact that your coworker was not suspended is an act of discrimination, but not unlawful discrimination. You and your coworker are not in the same position. Your employer apparently operates on the premise that your shift is your responsibility, and that when you take it upon yourself to cover it by switching with another employee, you are still the one responsible for coverage. While some may think it fairer to blame the employee who agreed to work and then failed to show up, this is not a legal principle upon which you have any claim. Your employer may take the position that in return for the privilege of allowing employees to switch shifts with others, the employee who was originally scheduled to work bears the risk. Courts do not interfere with an employer's operation of its business or writing of its rules, except in certain limited situations in which an action is illegal because of specific laws, such as civil rights laws and wage and hour laws. You have no recourse against generic unfairness. That's what unions are for.

posted by Francis Fanning  |  Jan 10, 2006 4:25 PM [EST]

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