Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Can my firm change an employee from a full-time basis to an as-needed or other basis?

An employment relationship in California is considered "at will" absent a union agreement or other express personal employment agreement with such employee. "At will" means that an employee may be terminated at any time for a any reason, or no reason, but not for a legally impermissible reason, such as age discrimination. Thus, the conditions of employment for an "at will" employee may also be changed, such as work description, pay, or otherwise, except as stated above and with some exceptions, which follow.

Check your employment policies to ensure there is no provision limiting this practice. Also, your firm must provide employment upon return from certain leaves to the same or similar job at the same or similar pay, working the same or similar hours in the same or similar location, unless the employee would have been laid off had he or she not gone on such leave, or if such employee's job is eliminated during his or her leave, and no equivalent or comparable job is available, then such employee will not be entitled to such reinstatement. These leaves include without limitation bereavement, family and medical, jury and witness, literacy, military, parents school activities, pregnancy disability, religious, and voluntary firefighter leaves.

Important Proviso: The above material does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on. It does not create an attorney-client relationship. Each locality has differing laws. A legal matter cannot be satisfactorily resolved without a comprehensive review and analysis of all the unique facts and laws at issue by an able attorney. Your matter may result in a loss of rights if you do not timely retain such an attorney.

Contact: If you would like to discuss this matter further in a more private forum, please feel free to contact me directly at the email address provided through my firm’s website located at

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