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Thread: Closing alone

  1. #1
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    Default Closing alone

    I've heard from a few people that it is considered unsafe and illegal to have only one person closing a store (restaurant in this case). I've been informed that it is a safety law of some sort because with only one person closing, if something happens to that one person (being robbed, injured, or trapped in some way) no one would find out until the next morning. However, I've been searching for confirmation of that law and I haven't had any success. Am I correct in assuming that I can't find anything dealing with only one person closing because there is no law (at least not in MI) regarding that issue? Also, if there is, please include a link so I can print it out as proof. Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    I don't believe you're going to find any law that says it's illegal for one person to close a shop alone.
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  3. #3
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    I don't think so either. I do share your concern, however. Have you discussed this with your manager or up the ladder? Is this one of a chain of establishments?
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  4. #4
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    I work at a (sandwich chain) as a shift leader/closer. We close at 10 and I'm scheduled until 10 and one other "short shifter" is scheduled until 10. The short shifter used to stay after 10 to help me close so that we could both be out of there quicker, but I would get scolded for writing in that the short shifter stayed on the schedule (we don't punch in, we get payed by what is on the schedule). One short shifter in particular has had his mother tell him that it is illegal for the owner to only have one person close a store, and told him to stay with us closers anyway. So, now I've only been writing in that he stays when we've been busy enough that the owner shouldn't care too much. However, recently she got after me again and said that this particular short shifter could not stay after any more at all. I also am scolded for writing in that I stay after 10 as well. For some reason, I'm the only closer that actually writes down the actual time I leave. The other closers just leave the schedule saying that they leave at 10. I know that it would be impossible to leave at 10 unless they are closing early and I have stated this to my manager. They tell me to write in how long I stay, but then if I stay more than 30 minutes (or even less than that if it was a "slow" day according to the sales) they get after me about that too.
    Basically, I feel like I'm in a lose-lose situation. If I don't finish the closing work, I get in trouble. If I stay after too long finishing the closing work, I get in trouble. If I close early, I get in trouble. If I ask another worker to stay and help to get out of there sooner, I get in trouble. I just want some advice on what to do, I guess. Like I said, I keep hearing from people that it's illegal to have only one person close, and I've even had people who confirmed that that is the rule at their workplace, but I'm starting to think it must be some sort of union rule, not a labor law.
    I know this is a long post, but I guess I'm just looking for someone to confirm, for sure, whether there is a law about having only one closer. (or give me some alternate advice)

    Oh on another note, could someone link me where it states that a person can not have their paycheck or hours already worked cut without signed consent of the worker? I've seen that on other threads but not the link to the actual legal document. (If I write in that I stay after and she doesn't think that I needed to stay after, then she just cuts it from my paycheck) Thanks!
    Last edited by cbg; 03-11-2010 at 01:32 PM.

  5. #5
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    You must be paid for all hours worked, and your employer may not make deductions from your paycheck without your written consent. Here is the Michigan law.

    They may, however, fire you for working past your scheduled time, or for leaving closing work incomplete, or for closing early, or for holding other employees late, or for working late and not reporting it. Giving employees multiple conflicting directions is poor management, but it is not illegal.

    I would focus on doing as much closing work early as possible - there must be some cleanup you can do while the place is still open. You can precount your cash drawer and paperclip bills together in multiples to make it easier to do your final cash count at the end of the night. Think through your closing duties - take whatever can be done before close, and have one person do that while the other person mans the counter.

    This depends on your management, but I would think about pointing out the impossibility of getting out super early alone every night, and ask your boss what you should do in the event that, for example, a customer comes in at 9:55 on a slow night and causes you to have to work late to get all the closing work done. Would they rather you leave some stuff for the opening shift, or work late and get it all done? You might not get the answer you're looking for, but it might not hurt to ask. Use your best judgement.

  6. #6
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    This is not a great thing for the employer to do (allowing you to close and leave alone), but it isn't illegal.
    Not everything in America is actionable in a court of law. Please remember that attorneys are in business for profit, and they get paid regardless of whether or not you win or lose.

    I offer my knowledge and experience at no charge, I admit that I am NOT infallible, I am wrong sometimes, hopefully another responder will correct me if that is the case with the answer above, regardless, it is your responsibility to verify any and all information provided.

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