What Can I Do About Never Getting Scheduled At My Job?
September 27, 2012 2:04 PM   Subscribe

What Can I Do About Never Getting Scheduled At My Job?

I've asked about jobs before. This is a different one.

At my current job, I started off getting full time hours. Now it's gotten to the point, in less than a month, where I'm getting scheduled for 8 hours a week. I just got a call telling me that they don't want me to go in for the rest of the week. Which means I got 1.5 hours.

I live in South Carolina. Are there any laws saying I'll get paid based on hours scheduled? Or for lack of a better way to put it, any way to screw them over other than leaving without giving notice?

I don't need to hear that I should look for a new job. I'm already on that.
posted by theichibun to Work & Money (17 answers total)
Look into whether this is 'constructive dismissal' which could make you eligible for unemployment benefits.
posted by bq at 2:10 PM on September 27, 2012 [5 favorites]

I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice. If you require legal advice, and perhaps you do, please seek the counsel of a competent attorney in your jurisdiction.

This sounds like constructive discharge to me. That is, it sounds like they've fired you without letting you know. If you're in a right-to-work state there is not necessarily a whole lot that you can do about that, unless you have reason to believe that the constructive discharge took place for a reason not permitted by law (e.g., because you belong to a particular protected class or status, or because you have blown the whistle on certain unlawful activities of your employer). In such a case, it would be possible that you have suffered an adverse employment action, a civil rights violation, or a violation of other laws pertaining to employment. You may also be eligible for unemployment benefits.

If you really want to find this stuff out, talk to an employment lawyer in your jurisdiction. Ask them your wage & hours question, as well, although the rule in every state where I've looked at the wage & hours law is that it is time worked, not time scheduled, that must be paid, and that an employment schedule does not, generally speaking, create a contract to pay for hours scheduled.
posted by gauche at 2:12 PM on September 27, 2012 [4 favorites]

I don't know about SC law and this is not legal advice. However, here is what you can do now: Look around you. Talk with your co-workers to figure out what is going on, and what the real criteria are for getting hours. In similar situations where they may be few hours to go around, I have seen a clear preferential system for who gets scheduled. Then approach your supervisor to see if there is anything you can do differently.

By giving you 1.5 hours/week, they may as well have terminated your employment - without actually doing so. Could this be advantageous to them because they do not have to pay unemployment? Look into the rules in your state.

If I suggest you ramp up your search for another job it's because your employer is effectively telling you the same thing.
posted by Atrahasis at 2:13 PM on September 27, 2012

OR, call your state Dept. of Labor and ask them about constructive discharge and unemployment benefits.
posted by gauche at 2:13 PM on September 27, 2012

South Carolina is pretty well worthless for workers rights. Source: I'm also a resident.

I found this:

"-10-30. (A) Every employer shall notify each employee in writing at the time of hiring of the normal hours and wages agreed upon, the time and place of payment, and the deductions which will be made from the wages, including payments to insurance programs. The employer has the option of giving written notification by posting the terms conspicuously at or near the place of work. Any changes in these terms must be made in writing at least seven calendar days before they become effective. This section does not apply to wage increases."
posted by chiababe at 2:15 PM on September 27, 2012

Response by poster: Well, I might have something based on chiababe's post. I know hours fluctuate. But I was never given any notice, in any form, that I would be cut down this much.

Thankfully I have a lot of classmates who have offered to vouch for me if I try to go work with them.
posted by theichibun at 2:22 PM on September 27, 2012

I can't see any way to screw them over easily or cheaply. I would look into local unemployment laws. Letting you go without cause is often grounds for granting unemployment compensation. But, really, you need to go to your manager and be open and respectful and see if you can get to the bottom of this and whether there's anything you can do to increase your hours. But, I doubt there's anything you can *force* them to do.
posted by amanda at 4:12 PM on September 27, 2012

What type of job is this? If it's food service or grocery work it may very well just be par for the course. For that matter a lot of retail places do this right now too. The economy is a real b*tch.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:55 PM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

In VA there are situations where you can collect unemployment if your hours have been drastically cut. I don't know the details but it is probably worth checking out of SC has something similar.
posted by COD at 5:29 PM on September 27, 2012

you're getting laid off....without them laying you off. This way they don't have to give you unemployment.

BTW: this is common restaurant practice...if that's where you work.
posted by couchdive at 5:30 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

You are not going to like much of what I'm going to say, but read it all the way through and think about it. I have been an employer and an employee. While you have not told us what type of job you have, I'm guessing (as others have) that it is food service or grocery work. From my experience, employers who hire people for these positions do not do so if they think they are going to be cutting hours soon. It costs them money to train you and to make up for the mistakes you will make while you learn how to do things "their way." If you have been on the job for only a month and have gone from a promise of full-time to 8 hours per week to 1.5 hours this week, they are not satisfied with your performance. This is unfortunate. This could be because of some weird things they want done their way or it could be because you have a bad attitude. (It could be because of any of a hundred other things too.)

Here's the thing. They're not happy with you and they don't have the huevos to lay you off because they will probably owe you unemployment.

You know what you need to do. You have mentioned it in your question. What you don't need to do is "...to screw them over..." in any form. Those kinds of things come back to bite you and it can hurt you more than them. For instance, if you quit without notice, first, they may not even notice it since they are not scheduling you a whole lot. Second, that is a really good reason to deny you unemployment. Don't focus on punishing them. Focus on getting what you need for the future.

Use the unscheduled time to look for a better job.
posted by Old Geezer at 7:12 PM on September 27, 2012

Response by poster: It seems that the best thing I can do is not quit so I can actually be fired and use the time to find something else. Which I've been doing already and have done since I asked this.

I went in yesterday just to see the schedule for next week. My name wasn't even on it. The owner's daughter who's there on weekends finagled the schedule some and now I'm working 1 shift, and I'm totally prepared to be let go really or just flat out fired that day.

Would it be bad form at all to ask them if I'm fired if I get a call telling me not to come in again? Would that mess up any unemployment or anything else?
posted by theichibun at 2:55 PM on September 30, 2012

If you have been on the job for only a month and have gone from a promise of full-time to 8 hours per week to 1.5 hours this week, they are not satisfied with your performance.

In my (retail) experience, this is not necessarily true. A lot of places overhire. They give people a lot of hours during training and then later don't have any to give them, just because they don't have that much foresight-- or they are not making enough money for the payroll they projected.

I'd get a new job, right now. Some places are still hiring for the holidays and may be able to guarantee you more hours until the first of the year. I'd say nothing at your current job, or maybe just ask what the outlook is for future jobs, or even try to hold onto both for a bit. (That can really backfire though, if it causes you to be late or miss work.)
posted by BibiRose at 1:33 PM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

getting fired nulls you from unemployment unless you can prove wrongful termination.
posted by couchdive at 9:17 PM on October 1, 2012

That is not even close to universally true.
posted by bq at 8:06 AM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: At least this story has a happy ending. Last week was really amazing.

Monday I dropped off a resume and talked to one of the head guys in the kitchen. Tuesday I went in to stage. Wednesday I went to pick up my paycheck from the old job and was told they didn't need me anymore. Thursday morning I got a call from my new place and was asked if I wanted to work there for real. Friday I had my first shift. It was amazing.

I never did find out why they were cutting my hours. I doubt it's because they over hired since they hired someone new after they started this shit with me. I think it's because they didn't want to pay someone who knew what they were doing.

We won't be having that problem at my new place.
posted by theichibun at 1:51 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

BQ, true true, Let me rephrase. Most companies (especially in restaurant work) will either fire you with cause (1 minute late for work - apron dirty - didnt push new spicy boner chicken bloom salad to a secret shopper ETC) and you are ineligible for unemployment or they cut your shift till you stop showing up...which is voluntary on your side - and you are ineligible for unemployment wages.

If you are laid off, because your location closed or the theater season closes or whatever, and you are not offered another job at another location, you may get unemployment. Probably the only time I see folks in the industry getting unemployment.

Hey maybe that's just in my town.
posted by couchdive at 1:01 PM on October 10, 2012

« Older Hither and thither and yon...   |   Best/Cheapest Men's Hair Dye In New York? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.