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Can my employer punish me for not coming in on my scheduled day off?
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Can my employer punish me for not coming in on my scheduled day off?

I was scheduled off today. I made plans to go out of town. This morning the office girl calls, leaves me a message, and asks if I can come in. I called back and told her I wasn't able to. A couple of hours later, work calls again. I didn't answer right away. It was my manager this time. He left me a message saying that if I didn't call him back, my hours might substantially be lowered in the weeks to come. I called him back, and he accuses me on the phone of screening my calls. I politely explained to him I was out of town with a friend (at this point I was), and I apologized for not being able to come into work. He said he was just wondering why I couldn't come in.

My thinking is that what I do on my day off is my business, and that I shouldn't have to be around my phone to answer it right away. Can he really threaten to reduce my hours if I don't come in on my day off? Are there any laws against this kind of retaliation? I live in Arkansas if that helps.


i dont think they can do that... look it up in employee rights...your employer should have a copy.


Barry auh2o
Possibly someone called off sick, he was in a bind and called you.How often does this happen????
Here's your choice.
Are you going to be willing to help out and pick up the slack if he's in a bind, or are you going to stand by "" what i do on my day off is my business and I shouldn't have to stand by the phone." Your decision will help your boss decide if you are someone he can count on to help him, or are you someone that isn't interested in doing any more than what you have to."
If you can't understand this, then you will never convince anyone you can be promoted into management and that co9uld have a very negative impact on your future with this company.

He can reduce your hours for any reason or for no reason - he could reduce them even if you HAD come in that day, so there's nothing that says he can't reduce them if you didn't.

You have a legal right not to go in on your day off, or to quit and look for a different job if you feel their demands or actions are unreasonable - they have just as much a legal right to cut your hours or even to terminate you.

In hindsight, your mistake was probably in calling back in the first place and acknowledging that you got the initial call - but you were just trying to do a decent thing and let them know.

It may be construed as a threat but most likely he was trying to encourage you to be available more often or he might have to rely on others who are more dependable or readily available. You do have a right to discuss with him exactly what he meant. He has no right to make accusations regarding why you didn't respond, but he can 'ask'. He may be throwing his weight around because he feels like he is in a bind and must get coverage. He has no right to get angry for you not responding to his demands if your not available.

kOokiE mOnstER
Your schedule is kind of like a binding where you must follow it or else you'll get written up or something. Say they schedule you for Monday 8-5 pm and if you don't show up, you're in trouble. So if Monday is your day off, then you don't have to come in and you don't have to pick up your phone because low coverage at work is NOT your problem. But if you want to work and your work needs people, then go for it. Normally work schedules come out at least a week before the actually days you work so it gives you time to plan anything you want on your days off. They can't punish you if you don't come in because you already planned to do something else. If anything, your manager is a little mad because it's his responsibility to find coverage so when you didn't pick up, that just made it a little inconvenient for him.

Laws? I'm not sure, try to google it.

Blow that popsicle stand for a better job where they hold you in higher regard. Think about being self employed as life can give you signs we need to listen and we don't all the time. Have you been there for more than 3 mths if so let them fire you and collect your unemployment till you find something better...


Dick J
I don't live in AR, but in my state, this practice would probably not be unlawful in and of itself. However, if it was motivated by a discriminatory animus (your race, religion, union activity, having filed for workers comp in the past, etc.), it would be unlawful.

He could punish you, but not by reducing hours. If you are up for a promotion, you may not get it because you were not available that day that they needed someone to fill.

It was a "Scheduled" day off, so it could be possible you could be called in. But it is an office, so unless it was an important position within the company or 50% of the office came down with the flu, always count on to do whatever you want on the scheduled day off.

Now, if they only call you maybe once in a great wild, go for it.
But, if they start calling you every single day because someone else calls in sick ... then I would consider start finding another job, because in reality, he should not depend on you to be their "DOG."

To the one that asked the question ........i can so relate with you on this punishment crap with work...i booked a day off to go to a work function out of town with my husband...the day off was granted...so i went to the function. During that time i had gotten a msg asking if i was available to come in because someone called in sick...i was out of town and still responded to the msg by reminding them i had booked the day off and was out of town so i wouldnt be available. The weeks schedual finally gets posted and i get shafted on shifts because i was not available on my day off as to what the manager had told me. I told the manager i had responded to the msg and i had booked the day off week in advance and was granted the day off so this is unfair. Manager said well if your not available he (owner) gets upset and you then loose shifts. I am so sick of head games being played by owners and manager that think they can powertrip on the spot without even thinking of what could happen to the person when they are not even at fault. I think there should be a human rights law for this kind of situations. I can see loosing shifts if you are someone that calls in alot or doesnt show for shifts but not for not being available on your day off.

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