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Is GA At-Will State, and other quick questions-please help!

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What is the name of your state? GA
I have a few quick questions so please bear with me.

1) Is GA an at-will or at-cause state?

2) My employer told me Monday that I had to change my shift (from 7 p.m.-2 a.m. to 10 p.m.-7 a.m.) or I could not return to work. What are my options?

3) I have been told I cannot work this week since i'm not on the printed schedule, but was told Monday that I would not be on the printed schedule unless I changed my shift. 10-7 is not an option because I watch my child during the day (too frail for daycare), and 2-11 can't work b/c I don't have anyone to watch him until my husband comes home from his day job. So the store suggested this schedule last Jan., which has helped both me and the store.

4) Employer told me Tuesday he was not able to guarantee whether I still had a job. Am I still employed or have I been terminated? If so, when?

5) Employer told me that if they wound up letting me go, I would be terminated for "Failure to Work Scheduled Hours." How can this be? I have been working 7-2 since January when shift was approved by the former store manager. None of this makes sense.

This is a large retail store with over 100 employees. I have been there since June 2000, no reprimands, writeups, or anything negative in my file. In fact, even got a merit raise last summer for performance.

The store has recently gotten a new co-manager, a new district manager, and is currently being renovated into a Supercenter. I don't think all of this is coincidence.

I'm sorry to burden you all, but I really do need some help. Beth3 has been wonderful at helping me with some of this, but some of this stuff hit the fan last night, and I need additional assistance please.

By the way, ,I called Dept. of Labor, and they said they didn't know if I had a case until I filed a claim.

Thanks again everybody!


I'm a Northern Girl
I don't know where Beth3 is today; she hasn't been on any of the three boards we both frequent.

1. GA is an at will state. The only state that could be called a for-cause state is Montana, and even there, there are exceptions when at-will is permissable. All other states are at-will.

2. Your options are to change your shift or look for another job. Your employer can legally change your shift as business needs require.

3. Your employer is not responsible for your day care issues; they are not required to give you the shift you prefer and they are not obligated to take your day care needs into consideration. If they have told you that you have to work one particular shift this week or else you will not be on the schedule, then you have to work that shift or else not be on the schedule.

4. At this point you are still employed. You will be employed until you are told that you do not have a job. Not being put on the schedule is not the same thing as being fired.

5. If they want you to work one particular shift and you either cannot or will not do so, then you have failed to work scheduled hours. They are not saying that you did not work the scheduled hours in January; they are saying that when you do not work the shift they want, you are not working the scheduled hours. If they schedule you for 10-7 and you say, no, I can't work that shift, you are not working your scheduled hours. I don' t know how to make it any clearer.

It is totally irrelevant that you have been an exemplary employee. I'm sure you have; that does not give you the right to the shift you want. Your employer is not doing anything illegal. It may be that you are right and this is due to the new manager; that doesn't make it illegal. The fact that they have accomodated your preferred shift until now does not require them to continue doing so forever.

You do not have a case unless you can PROVE that the ONLY reason they are requiring you to change your shift is BECAUSE OF your gender, race, age (over 40), religion, national origin, disability or pregnancy.


Thanks cbg!

I appreciate you taking the time to answer my concerns.

I do believe I misspoke in my original post though. When I talked to the Dept. of Labor, by "case" I meant unemployment benefit claim, not litigation. I know I don't have a legal situation here.

All I wanted to know from the DOL is if they thought I could file for unemployment (since I didn't know at the time if I was still employed.)

What about if I quit, since I truly cannot meet the new schedule? It's not stubborness on my part, it's simply sickly child, one car, two parents. Would I still be eligibile for unemployment if I quit the store?

Anyway, thank you for your help.


I'm a Northern Girl
There is no possible way that I, or Beth, or anyone else on this board can tell you whether or not you will be eligible for unemployment if you quit under the circumstances you describe. That is going to be subject to GA law (neither Beth nor I have ever had employees in GA - if you haven't already realized it, she and I have known each other quite well for about three years now) and even if we had, the state looks at UI claims on a case by case basis. I can't possibly tell you how they will judge. All I can tell you is that, in most cases, if you quit you don't get unemployment. They MAY look at your specific circumstances but usually it's going to be a case of, Were you offered work? Yes. Did you work? No. and they don't really care that you felt you couldn't work that shift. I don't know how GA decisions have gone in the past. You might try calling the unemployment office instead of the DOL and see if they can give you a better answer, but I suspect they'll tell you the same thing - they can't tell if you have a claim until you file one. I wish I could give you a better answer, but it would be totally irresponsible of me to give you a yes or a no under the circumstances. There's just no way to know. Sorry.


cbg, appreciate your honesty, got WM reprieve tonight

Thanks again for your response. I appreciate your honesty.

Just wanted to let you know what happened tonight. Apparently today, my supervisor (who was in last night's meeting) fought for my continued employment. She told the two co-managers about my work ethic, ability, and contribution to the company. (she told me this tonight)

As a result, the co-managers offered me a reduced schedule: 28 hours. This gives them more weekend manpower. This gives me time to sleep and continued employment and benefits. Because of when I was hired, I am still considered FT (the requirements changed for later hires).

When they told me this, I made sure to get everything in writing, and confirmed in the presence of the co-manager and support managers. No verbal schedule agreements for me!

I'm glad they were willing to work with me. I'm also glad I didn't quit in a huff or anything.

Thanks again for your help and time. Hope you have a good evening!

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