I work a standard day shift schedule, 8 AM to 5 PM. My employer has mandated that, once a week, I shift my schedule ahead four hours (NOON to 9 PM) to cover for employees that are on vacation. This is expected to last for the summer months.

I object to this requirement because I work a second part-time job and cannot alter my hours to accommodate.

I got the runaround from Human Resources, in the form of a non-answer wherein they complained about how difficult it was to schedule employee shifts.

I feel if I don't approach this correctly, they will simply fire me. What is the best and most effective way to deal with this situation so that I do not lose either of my jobs?

  • 5
    You likely don’t have recourse. Unless you have a contract that states 8 AM to 5 PM, then your hours are whatever you and your employer agree to. If your employer’s required hours differ from the hours you are willing to work, either a compromise is found or you part ways.
    – Matt
    May 19, 2013 at 18:11
  • 2
    Hi JYelton. I removed the legal component of your question. To know if something is legal, you must consult an attorney.
    – jmort253
    May 19, 2013 at 19:08
  • 3
    @ratchetfreak working a later shift is not overtime if you're still at or under 40 hours in the week. If the company offers it though, there may be a shift differential.
    – Andy
    May 19, 2013 at 20:31
  • 3
    Standard response to questions like this: (1) What does your contract say (if you have one)? (2) What are the relevant laws in your jurisdiction (we're not lawyers)? (3) Do you work in an employment-at-will state, meaning either of you can terminate the arrangement for any reason? May 19, 2013 at 21:53
  • 1
    @jmort253 - What recourse do i have is still legal but I think this is now squarely on topic since it is about avoiding the need for lawyers altogether. May 20, 2013 at 2:04

3 Answers 3


It is likely that you are going to have to choose between the two jobs as there is no reason for either one to care about the needs of the other company. I would ask the one you are most likely to give up (Probably the part-time one) to rearrange the schedule due to this issue and make the employer that you most need to to work for (the full-time one) happy by going along with what they want. If you try to negotiate with both of them and it fails with both of them, you could lose both jobs. I think the best you can do is limit the possible damage to only one workplace. You basically have little to no negotiating power in a situation like this unless you have a skill that they would have difficulty replacing if you quit.

You could consult with your state labor department to see what the legalities are in the situation. http://laborcommission.utah.gov/

  • The frustrating part is that I accepted the job based on an expected day shift schedule, and did not agree to have other "random" schedule changes. Unfortunately I don't think there is a signed agreement anywhere. Many people have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet, and employers should have more respect to this fact.
    – JYelton
    May 20, 2013 at 18:58
  • 4
    Not to sound cruel (I work two jobs (one full one part time) and go to school full time), but why should the employer have more respect for that fact? All they care about is that you work for them. If you are expendable, you will adhere to their schedule or you will find another job. May 20, 2013 at 19:35
  • @DaveJohnson - Great summation about everything thats' wrong with work culture. "Why should you care about your employees making a completely reasonable request? - Well, just dont!"
    – Thorst
    Jun 15, 2016 at 8:03
  • The employer should have respect for the fact that you can't be in two places at the same time. If an employer is too stupid to realise that, too bad.
    – gnasher729
    Jun 15, 2016 at 8:03
  • 1
    @Lasse Keep in mind that many companies and managers are reasonable, but we don't tend to hear horror stories or get questions on this site about those. The problem in the US is that there is relatively little protection for employees which allows unreasonable employers to do unreasonable things.
    – Lilienthal
    Jun 15, 2016 at 8:15

Since both of your jobs are in a bind, I would suggest looking for another job. First, approach the part-time position to see if there is a chance to get full-time work. Also, look for another job and let them know you are looking for a particular range of hours. That's a very legitimate reason to leave your current position.

You can still give it your best shot. Somehow, changing your hours is making someone else's job easier. It could be your manager or someone in HR, etc. I don't see how this could be an unexpected circustance unless no one ever took a vacation before. It's a little naive to think a company that has multiple shifts would never ask you to switch and unprofessional on their part to make such a promise. My guess is they don't want to ask someone else to make the change because this person has a history of complaining.

State your case to the person who is going to have the most trouble if you leave. Replacing employees does cost money. Let them know you were told this would not happen. The fact of the matter is you need more than one job. Maybe they have some insight on what is really going on and are in a better position to find a solution.

Is there any chance you can get over-time on this job, so you don't need the part-time job over the summer? I hate to just say find another job, but this problem may occur beyond the summer hours or repeat itself every year.

  • Lots of people say "you can get fired". Thanks for stating that firing people for problems that could be resolved amicably is rarely in the best interest of the company. Thanks for stating that you may be asked because everyone else is complaining loudly.
    – gnasher729
    Jun 15, 2016 at 7:54

There is a legal side to this, but there is also a plain common sense side: You cannot work at two jobs at the same time.

For the worst case, you decide which job is more important to you. Maybe one job would be able to give you more hours, so you could have one job only. Worth asking.

If that doesn't work, you tell the job that seems more flexible or that you are more willing to lose that you won't be working on these hours (and why, if you don't mind them knowing that you have two jobs), and then you see what happens.

Thanks for JeffO for reminding us that the reason you are asked to change shifts may be that someone else was asked and complained loudly about it. So if nothing else helps and you think you may be losing your job over this, complaining loudly (like storming into HR, shouting at them and so on, or loudly complaining to your supervisor's boss) may be the solution. It works with some people.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .