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can they force you to stay and work? Oregon

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  • can they force you to stay and work? Oregon

    I work at an assisted living facility that is run very poorly. Always understaffed it is a constent battle at shift change over. my question is this... If you were scheduled as a caregiver from 2pm to 10pm...you worked your entire scheduled shift, and someone calls in sick for the graveyard shift...Do you have to stay? everytime someone from graveyard calls in, every single caregiver from swing is forced to stay until either one person agrees to stay and pull a double, or until someone comes in. Well last night we descovered that they'd changed the password on the computer to access employee phone numbers, so no one could be called. We all stayed an hour past our scheduled shift, with no one willing to stay and work a double, so we all walked out, leaving graveyard short handed. What is the oregon law for keeping employees past their scheduled hours. The administrative person was called and she told us to deal with it, someone had to stay, she was going to a reception...shouldn't it be her responsibility to come in.

  • #2
    You don't HAVE to stay. You are free to leave. Your employer is free to terminate you for not staying.
    Please no private messages about your situation.

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    • #3
      Although I am appalled that caregivers could abandon their patients, it appears joec is correct. However, re-reading the post, I realized that the patients were being cared for, sort of, only with less staff than desired.

      http://library.findlaw.com/2004/Jul/19/133510.html

      Non-Union Employees Are Free to Walk Off The Job To Complain About Supervisors or Other Job Conditions

      Another common trap is when non-union employees walk off a job to protest certain job conditions. Most employers naturally (but incorrectly) presume that they may terminate non-union employees for abandoning the job. But that is not always the case. If, for example, employees engage in a work stoppage due to a legitimate job complaint, the NLRA may protect such conduct. In Trompler, Inc., an employer was held liable for back pay and reinstatement for terminating six employees who walked off the job in response to unanswered complaints about their supervisor.[4] Such a work stoppage may qualify as "protected concerted activity" under Section 7 of the NLRA.


      From a business standpoint, it is absolutely STUPID to have an entire shift stay on longer simply because ONE person on the next shift does not show up. The costs would be huge, if no one agreed to work a double (which is the intent of the stupid requirement) and the facility had to pay the wages for everyone.

      Maybe that would be a better way to handle the problem. Everyone stays, costing the company a bundle.
      Senior Professional in Human Resources and Certified Staffing Professional with over 30 years experience. Any advice provided is based upon experience and education, but does not constitute legal advice.

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      • #4
        But, what would the legitimate job complaint be? Making everyone stay?
        Please no private messages about your situation.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by samanthahills View Post
          I work at an assisted living facility that is run very poorly. Always understaffed it is a constent battle at shift change over. my question is this... If you were scheduled as a caregiver from 2pm to 10pm...you worked your entire scheduled shift, and someone calls in sick for the graveyard shift...Do you have to stay? everytime someone from graveyard calls in, every single caregiver from swing is forced to stay until either one person agrees to stay and pull a double, or until someone comes in. Well last night we descovered that they'd changed the password on the computer to access employee phone numbers, so no one could be called. We all stayed an hour past our scheduled shift, with no one willing to stay and work a double, so we all walked out, leaving graveyard short handed. What is the oregon law for keeping employees past their scheduled hours. The administrative person was called and she told us to deal with it, someone had to stay, she was going to a reception...shouldn't it be her responsibility to come in.
          Did any of you at all think about the danger to the patients if you all just walked out? You may not have wanted to stay but it seems to me to be incredibly selfish to just walk away and say "not my problem" when you are in a caregiver situation. We aren't talking about a bottom line being affected, we are talking about people.

          Have you tried to work this out with your employer? It isn't necessarily the administrator's job to step in and cover because no one else wants to. It seems a reasonable enough policy to allow you all to make the decision about who stays or if someone else gets called in. I think you all just gave your employer a fabulous reason to discontinue being flexible in this area and to start assigning people to work when someone calls in.
          I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by joec
            Forced overtime to start with.
            JoeC
            Joe, does it matter that the complaint, is not a legal complaint, but a personal one, since in Oregon, it is not against the law, to require overtime, even with no advance notice? I also wonder, if they can force a parent to not be there to pick up thier child, who is not old enough to take care of him/her self (I am only referring to unscheduled overtime, not scheduled, like stated above), risking the removal of the child from the home, for child endangerment? Can the company also be at risk for trouble, for not allowing them the access to phone numbers in case of an emergency? Just curious?
            Last edited by turbowray; 03-31-2007, 11:35 PM.

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            • #7
              The company is not under any LEGAL obligation to allow a parent to leave to pick up their child. It is the responsibility of the parent, not the employer, to have backup preparations in place in the event of unscheduled overtime.
              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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              • #8
                Originally posted by cbg View Post
                The company is not under any LEGAL obligation to allow a parent to leave to pick up their child. It is the responsibility of the parent, not the employer, to have backup preparations in place in the event of unscheduled overtime.

                Thanks cbg, I knew that was the case in the event of scheduled overtime, but was not sure about the unscheduled overtime. Thanks again!!

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                • #9
                  I have a similar kind of situation with my employer now. We have some employees who must work essentially what amounts to second shift for various reasons. If someone doesn't make it in, it is left to the site to determine how they want to handle it. If they want to call and try and get a sub they may. If they want to ask one person to stay and cover they may. Up and leaving that time uncovered is not an option. Our employees know this and accept it as part of the job. The administrators stepping in is not going to happen for a variety of reasons. Those sites that are able to work it out amongst themselves are permitted to do so. Those sites that can't seem to do that get those otherwise uncovered shifts assigned by a manager and yes, employees are expected to work them or face major disciplinary action.

                  I'd still say even if employees may technically have the right to walk out, that doesn't make it right nor is it likely to get them what they want in the long run. I know I'd much rather be asked to work something out with my coworkers and be able to take into consideration such things as who has kids that need to be picked up or a dog that needs to be fed, than be assigned an extra shift no questions asked because it is my turn.
                  I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by cbg View Post
                    The company is not under any LEGAL obligation to allow a parent to leave to pick up their child. It is the responsibility of the parent, not the employer, to have backup preparations in place in the event of unscheduled overtime.
                    That is my point. So, I still don't understand what the legitimate job complaint is.
                    Please no private messages about your situation.

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                    • #11
                      It sounds to me like it is a grievance, but not a legal issue at all, since there are no laws being broke?? I surely would hate to be the children of my parent(s), that are being cared for in this facility, if the workers don't care about leaving them without proper care!! I feel there are other ways to bring this up, like during a meeting, with a solution, not just a complaint, and leave the welfare of the clients, out of it!! I would also wonder if during this meeting, if they could find out, who is calling in on such a regular basis, and replace that person, if it could be done. We have meetings once a month, and with our list of complaints, we also bring to our supervisors attention, a game plan, that may help fix those complaints. I wish you guys could have done that before leaving those poor older people short help, that could mean the difference between life and death, if one has a medical problem, that is not found out, until it is to late, because the remaining workers workload is to heavy, due to the shortage of staff. Good luck guys, I hope you and your bosses can work this out, so you do not have to feel like you have to walk out again!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Turbowray's got it. It's possible to have a legitimate complaint without any laws having been broken.

                        The difference is, if the employer is illegal, they HAVE to respond. If what they're doing is legal, they don't (barring CBA language to the contrary).
                        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.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by cbg View Post
                          Turbowray's got it. It's possible to have a legitimate complaint without any laws having been broken.

                          The difference is, if the employer is illegal, they HAVE to respond. If what they're doing is legal, they don't (barring CBA language to the contrary).
                          But, this would only apply in the specific situation in which they all walk off? What if 2 or 3, but not all 12 (for example) walk off? What if only 1 person leaves, in this situation?
                          Please no private messages about your situation.

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                          • #14
                            Hmmm, that is a good question, and only one that a lawyer could answer. I would assume, that since no laws are being broke, and the example above, does not state, what the supervisor was being questioned about (wether it was legal or not), that this was not a legal complaint, I would assume, that since no laws had been broken by the employer, that the walkout could end with them being being terminated. Since I am not an attorney, these are just assumptions. I would think if the employer was breaking the law by keeping them for overtime, that would make it a legitimate complaint, since they were not breaking the law, it is a greivance, not a legitimate complaint, just a work related concern. It is never nice to have to work overtime, but if I was asked, and I said no, and went home, they could fire me for it. I don't have the foggiest idea, as far as the number of people "striking", and the number of people staying to do thier job?? I do not agree with this, but I must accept it.

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                            • #15
                              Joe, I am glad you took the time to answer the questions that you could not believe you were reading. Thanks for that. My opinion is, the only stupid question, is one not asked, so why make us feel stupid for asking a question????

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