I work for a taco bell in Florida. My manager tells us that we have to attend a store meeting at 8:30AM or we get taken off the schedule for two to three week. Then I talked to my sister who's a manager at another taco bell and she talked to person who's over my manager about my hours. When I returned to work I didn't have may hours and i asked her why and she told me that it was because "the more you know the more hours you will receive". So one day at work a co worker told me the real reason that I was taken off the schedule was because she felt that i "went over her head" to take to her boss when I addressed the situation to her first. is that right?
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.
On the one hand, an employer can insist employees work on their days off. This is the same as changing work schedules, which is a normal event. On the other hand, employers MUST pay employees for all work done on behalf of the employer. The meeting is work on behalf of the employer and the employer violates the law if it requires employees to attend without pay.
You may be able to make something out of this by filing a claim of retaliation for refusing to work without pay with the Illinois wage and hour agency. However, the tough thing is proving your refusal to attend that meeting was the reason your hours were reduced. You may be able to demonstrate this by showing that all the other employees who attended retained their hours. And perhaps there were witnesses to any remarks about this, such as your sister, who would be willing to come forward and testify. Better still if some statements were made in writing.
All that said, you also have to consider what you lost; how much of that you can gain by taking action; and what it might cost you to take action in respect to time, money and emotional energy. I say this because even though we have laws to prevent retaliation, these laws are not self-enforcing. You have to take action to secure your rights. And if you take action, that means your employer will have to respond . . . and your employer might not like that. It might then try to find a way to demote you or even get rid of you. Those actions would also be unlawful, and then you will need to enforce your rights again.
On the up side, it may be the person who insisted on unpaid attendance will get in trouble or the employer will learn something from this experience. You certainly have a better sense of how your employer might react than I do. Taking your issue to human resources might be a logical first step.
Keep a log of any comments, adverse actions or other funny business, starting with the day the first adverse action took place. Be sure to include the day you made your complaint. Write down the date, time, what was said or done, who said or did it, and any witnesses. Keep your log at home, not at work, because you never know what will disappear.
Before you take any action, please look at my Avvo guide on at-will employment law, which should help you understand your rights in this difficult situation, as well as in the future.
Federal law at-will employment: http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/an-overview-of-at-will-employment-all-states.
And if you decide to take action by filing a complaint outside the company, it will be useful for you to review my guide to unlawful discrimination:
Federal discrimination law: http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/what-is-unlawful-employment-discrimination--federal-law?published=true.
You can find a plaintiffs employment attorney on the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) web site www.nela.org. NELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the country for attorneys representing working people. You can search by location and practice area. Also, NELA has affiliates in every state and many cities which are listed on the NELA site. Not all NELA attorneys are named on the web site or affiliate site. This should not influence your selection; attorneys can choose whether or not to purchase a listing in the national directory, and each affiliate has its own rules for listing.
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. ***
Ms. Spencer provides a very good detailed response. Unfortunately, as long as the employer is not violating a state or federal law, such as discrimination, then they can do something like this without any real recourse by you in the event of termination.
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