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Q&A: We hired an employee about a month ago … Now they say that they can’t work weekends. What should we do?

Question:

We hired an employee about a month ago, and at the time of hire, they said they could work weekends. Now they say that they can’t work on weekends. What should we do?

Answer from Celine, SHRM-CP:

It depends. In general, if an employee is unable or unwilling to work the hours they had originally agreed to work, and those hours are required to meet business needs, you can discipline the employee up to and be including termination. However, if the employee’s inability to work these hours is related to a protected reason (e.g., medical leave), you’ll want to have a conversation about accommodations instead of discipline.

Whether you opt to discipline or terminate the employee or work around their schedule, keep in mind that these actions will set a precedent for how you’ll be expected to handle similar situations in the future. Making exceptions for particular employees while disciplining others—when the reasons for the change in hours are not protected—could expose you to discrimination claims.

Picture of Celine, SHRM-CP

Celine, SHRM-CP

With eight years of customer service experience under her belt, Céline is proud to bring her healthcare and food service expertise to the team. She’s fluent in French and proficient in Spanish, making her nearly trilingual. Céline serves on the board of a non-profit that organizes a citywide music festival. She loves spending her time exploring the outdoors, playing with her nieces and nephews, and cooking.

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