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Various questions about retaliation and labor. Utah

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  • Various questions about retaliation and labor. Utah

    I work as an assistant manager for a retail company (Corporate owned), 5 years, Couple of questions.

    One, Is there any Utah or Federal law regulating the frequency of shifts? I was under the assumption that after a full shift, (Ten hours in my case, Closing at about 10:30pm) I am allowed 12 hours before being required to report to work again. I want to clarify that, (As I have been given 9-10 hours at times, which is a personal problem. (Sleep Deprivation, which aslo affects my work. Bad Cycle))

    Also, recently, there was a discrepency in the store funds after I closed, (In charge) A certain amount was found missing the next morning. Now there are always two workers except during the morning, The opening manager is alone for 15-30 minutes. Closing, I was watched by the other employee for counting the funds. Opening manager was the one who found the discrepency. I don't think anything regarding theft is going on. But, when it came time to actualize the problem of the missing funds, I was the only one disciplined.

    Along that same line, Because of all these reasons, and stress, and other personal matters, I am considering stepping down as managment. Now, this company is an "At-Will" Employer. I am worried they will either lower my wages, or even terminate me. Do they have right to do this? The company is somewhat in need of management, But I know they have ran with fewer management members then we currently have, (I was one of two for some time. Where as we currently have five.) I am somewhat dependant on the fulltime hours, And do not want to lose the job, hours, or wages.

    Is there any preventative measures I can take?

    If not, is there any claims I might have if they do decide to terminate me?

    Thank you all for any help you might be able to provide.

    EAX

  • #2
    I am not aware of any requirement for downtime between shifts. Scheduling is typically at the discretion of the employer. If you are unhappy with your boss' scheduling practices, I'd suggest discussing the matter with him. He's under no obligation to take your request into consideration; but it never hurts to ask.

    It sounds that the till shortage situation is unfortunate. The employer has the right to discipline if he "believes" that you violated one of the company policies. Being punished for shortages is not uncommon. I understand that you dispute this charge. If you received a written warning, often these forms have a comment section which you could state your defense.

    You are correct that employment is "at will". This is true for most US employers. If you decide to step down, it would not be "unreasonable" for your employer to reduce your pay. Most likely your pay is commiserate with your job responsibilities. By reducing responsibilities, pay is often reduced as well. This is ultimately at the discretion of your employer.

    Typically you'd only qualify for unemployment if you were laid-off. Terminations for "cause" often result in benefits being denied. It never hurts to apply. The worst case scenario is that benefits are denied.

    I don't see anything unlawful as per your post. There seems to be no discrimination by the legal definition (Discrimination occurs when you are treated differently because of membership in a protected class such as race, religion, etc.).

    Useful link:
    http://laborcommission.utah.gov/Utah..._standards.htm

    Comment


    • #3
      There is no law, Federal or state, in any state, requiring any particular number of hours between shifts. The employer could legally schedule you for back to back shifts if he chose.

      There are industry specific exceptions but they occur when there are public safety concerns; truck drivers, airline pilots, in some state nursing. They do not apply to retail employees. I understand your concerns better than you might think and I am not unsympathetic but the law simply does not support your position.

      Robb has summed up the disciplinary situation pretty well. The employer may discipline you if he believes you are responsible, even if he is mistaken. It does not necessarily mean he thinks you stole the money; it could be for carelessness. But the law does not say that he has to discipline anyone who touched the money or all the employees involved; he can take what disciplinary measures he feels are warranted.

      Utah is not one of the states that guarantees you the right to place a rebuttal in your file. This doesn't mean your employer will not permit it; only that he cannot be compelled to.

      If you choose to step down from managment or even if you don't, they may lower your wages (they have to give you advance notice); reduce your hours (no advance notice required) or terminate you (again, no advance notice required). Nothing in your post suggests that there would be anything unlawful in doing so; thus, no legal recourse would be available.

      There are instances where being fired can still result in receiving unemployment. By all means apply - the worst that can happen is that you are denied, and you would have the right of appeal in that case. BTW, I'm more optimistic than Robb; in the absence of evidence that you were responsible for the missing money, I would expect you to be able to collect. But the unemployment claim is the only one you would be able to make.
      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


      • #4
        I appreciate the information guys. At least I know my options and what consequences are viable. I doubt any more action will be taken against me, as I am one of the senior members. And the "Carelessness" Reason is one of the issues mentioned. So I will just make sure I take care of what's important before taking any actions. Plenty of jobs out there. Right?
        Once again, Thank you both for all your help

        Comment


        • #5
          And I agree with cbg on all counts and only disagree with robb regarding your prospects for unemployment.

          If you are discharged, then the employer bears the burden of proof to demonstrate willful and deliberate misconduct. It is a far more onerous burden than demonstrating that you were discharged for cause. Moreover, if the reason for termination is the shortage, then the employer would have to demonstrate either that you in fact stole the money or that you had received progressive discipline for this offense and made aware that your position was in jeopardy for this very issue.

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