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Can my employer make my schedule public knowledge?

Longmont, CO |

My employer posts our schedule on a Google calendar on our website. This is the only way we are notified about our schedule. Now, anyone can know who is working and when. This seems unsafe, not to mention an invasion of my privacy. I am a female, and sometimes work alone, and now any random person can know when I will be at work alone. The idea of this makes me feel extremely uneasy.

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Attorney answers 2

Posted

Ms. Spencer gave a very accurate and thorough response. Is it illegal to publish your schedule - no. Is it wise for the employer to publish schedules of employees - no. As you have mentioned, it could potentially cause employees to be at risk, especially is someone is stalking or has a vendetta against a specific employee. It is not really an invasion of your privacy. It is just not the smartest move on your employer's behalf and could cause potential problems for them on down the line if something were to happen to one of the employees due to their "publication" of work schedules.

Posted

I am a California attorney and cannot give legal advice in your state. My comments are information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT OFFER SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I mention your state’s laws, it only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state to learn your rights.

I completely understand your concern. Unfortunately, it is unlikely this is illegal in any way, although it may be thoughtless for the reasons you mention. The harsh reality is employees and job applicants have very few employment rights, and employers have a lot of leeway in how they choose to run their businesses. In general, an employer can be unfair, obnoxious or bad at management. An employer has no obligation to warn an employee that he or she is not performing as the employer wants. And an employer can make decisions based on faulty or inaccurate information. It’s not a level playing field. An employer hires employees to provide work for its benefit, not for the benefit of the employees. Don't expect the employer to take care of its employees; it doesn’t have to and it rarely does.

There are some limitations on what an employer can do, mostly in the areas of public policy (such as discrimination law or whistle blowing), contract law, union-employer labor relations, and constitutional due process for government employees. Please see my guide to at-will employment which should help you understand employment rights: http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/an-overview-of-at-will-employment-all-states. After you take a look at the guide, you may be able to identify actions or behavior that fits one of the categories that allows for legal action. If so, an experienced plaintiffs employment attorney may be helpful.

Have you spoken to your employer about your concerns? Employers do have a legal duty to provide a safe workplace, though this does not mean they have to build a fortress. Perhaps your employer can and will provide better security, additional locks, etc.

Employment rights come from the state and federal legislatures. One of the best things working people can do to improve their employment rights is to vote for candidates who have a good record on pro-employee, anti-corporate legislation. Another way to protect employment rights is to form or affiliate with a union, or participate in the union already in place.

I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.

*** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***

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