You can be scheduled to work a few hours or minutes as the employer wants to employ you. You do not even have to be scheduled. You can just go in when the employer calls.
There is a concept called reporting time that requires an employer to pay you for at least half of your scheduled shift if you are sent home early. This only applies if you first show up, and then are sent home after you show up for work. If you are being scheduled 3 hours and you are being sent home after half of that shift, you will not be entitled to reporting time.
Good luck to you.
This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.
There is no limit to how many or few hours you can be scheduled to work and no minimum notice for scheduling changes. That said, Mr. Pederson correctly raises the issue of "reporting time pay," which may apply if you are sent home before working at least half of your regularly scheduled shift. The Department of Industrial Relations has written a very informative article about reporting time pay here: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/faq_reportingtimepay.htm Good luck.
This answer is a general interpretation of the law and is not fact specific to your case. Likewise it does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should seek an attorney for a review of your specific facts and documents.
I agree with Mr. Pedersen and Mr. Phillips with respect to the law. On a practical note, clearly this is not a job you can depend on, so I hope you are already looking for alternate employment. You might talk to your manager and let him or her know that you are eager to work more hours, and ask what you can do to get them.
I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.
@MikaSpencer * * * twitter.com/MikaSpencer * * * PLEASE READ: 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.