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  • Non Exempt Hourly Employee Schedules

    In AZ does an employer have the right to send home any hourly non-exempt employee earlier than their scheduled shift, even when that employee refuses to go home?

    For example, if Tim is scheduled to work 11am-8pm and his employer has him work 2 hours until 1pm and then tells him to go home, is this okay legally?

    I am asking because my son works in a fast food restaurant and has had his hours hurt dramatically because he is scheduled 40 hours but is being sent home against his will after working only a few hours each day. If he is given a schedule each week, do they have the right to alter this with no notice?

    Thank you for your help

  • #2
    Yes, in all 50 states the employer has the right to alter schedules without notice, even if the employee has already begun work. In all 50 states, if an employer does not have enough work for the employee, he can be sent home and the employee does not have the legal right to refuse.

    If the employee refuses to go home when told to, even if he is scheduled to work additional hours, the employee can be disciplined up to and including termination of employment.

    In a very small handful of states, an employee who is sent home without completing his scheduled shift is entitled to "reporting time pay" but Arizona is not one of those states.
    Last edited by cbg; 08-22-2009, 07:21 PM.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      Agreed. "Non-Exempt" and "Exempt" are terms defined in the federal FLSA law that are used in determine how an employee gets paid. That is pretty much all those terms do. Some people feel that because they are Exempt that (for example) they get to set their own hours, or cannot be told to do certain things such as complete a timesheet. Wrong. The law simply does not say that, not at the federal level, and not in any states. Any employer can always send any employee home. That is a non-issue.

      Now, whether or not the employee has to be paid for the rest of the day? That is a different question. No employer is ever forced to (for example) make any employee Exempt Salaried. Microsoft could legally make Bill Gates non-exempt if they (Microsoft) felt like it. HOWEVER, if the employer chooses to make an employee Exempt Salaried, or even Non-Exempt Salaried under the Fluctuating Workweek or Belo Plan methods, then the employer in addition to the favorable overtime treatment also agrees to docking restrictions on the salary. Sort of "read the fine print" and not just assume that you can say "free/cheap overtime, wheeeeee!" and have no adverse consequences.

      And as CBG mentioned, a very few states have "reporting time" or similar laws effecting non-exempt employees. A good rule of thumb is that some state some where has some strange law that no one is familiar with on pretty much any subject.
      "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
      Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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