Skip to main content

I work an 8a-5p position and have been asked to work a week or more of 10p-6a at normal pay. Is this legal?

Denver, CO |

I work in field service and signed on to this position 5.5 years ago as a position of medium to heavy travel and may occasionally need to work WEEKEND to support special projects. This was fine but night work during the week is not an option with kids especially if I'm being asked to do it at normal pay. How am I supposed to pay someone to watch kids during the night and day while only being paid for normal time?

+ Read More

Attorney answers 3


Yes. You are actually being asked to work less hours. Just like with law enforcement, you can be required to work nights, swing shifts, or day shifts. I understand your concerns. But with CO being an at will employment state, if you do not like the hours or can not handle the hours because of your children, your only option is to quit and find another job. Dispatchers, nurses, doctors, and other professionals face this constantly.

The information provided in this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are interested in his legal services, feel free to call Chris at (303) 409-7635 at his law office in the Denver Tech Center. All initial consultations are free of charge.


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.

Attorney Leroi is correct. An employer is free to change employees' work schedules to meet the demands of its business, or even because it feels like it. 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. And an employer can make decisions based on faulty or inaccurate information. An employer has no obligation to warn an employee that he or she is not performing as the employer wants. 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: 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.

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. ***


Yes, it is legal. However, just becuase your employer asks you to cover a different shift doesn't mean that you have to agree to do so. You always have the option to tell the employer that you cannot work the late hours and that you would prefer to continue to work 8a-5p. That leaves the employer with the choice to find someone else to work the late shifts and to either leave you in your day shift (if they believe they need you during those hours) or to terminate your employment (if they don't think they really need you from 8a-5p).

You can reach Harkess & Salter LLC at (303) 531-5380 or Stephen Harkess is an attorney licensed in the state and federal courts of Colorado. This answer is for general information only and does not create an attorney client relationship between Stephen Harkess or Harkess & Salter LLC and any person. You should schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your legal issues.