Can I Be Fired For Not Working Black Friday in New York? NYC Wage and Hour Lawyer Explains

I Was Fired For Not Working Black Friday in New York City: Can I Be Fired For Not Working Black Friday? 

One common wage and hour issue that arises around the holidays is if an employee can be fired for not working the holiday day scheduled.  This can become particularly hostile during Thanksgiving and Black Friday, where businesses are opening earlier on Thanksgiving, staying open later at night, and staying open later on Black Friday.  Employees are expected to take up at least one shift which means they may be sacrificing time with family and friends to work.  But if an employee refuses to work, can that employee be fired?  Our New York City wage and hour lawyer explains the rights of an employee and employer.

New York is an “At Will” State Regarding Employment

Under New York law, the employee-employer relationship is “at will,” meaning that employment can be terminated at will by either party.  This also means that an employer can terminate any employer without cause and for any reason, at the employer’s discretion or at the employer’s will.

As such, this means that an employer can absolutely fire an employee who refuses to work during Thanksgiving or Black Friday for a normal shift.

Exceptions to “At Will” in New York

However, if an employee is unionized through a collective bargaining agreement, or if there is an employment contract between the employee and employer, the rules may change.  It may not be legal for an employer to terminate and employee for not working on Black Friday pursuant to the terms of the agreement.  Meaning that an employee may not be able to be freely terminated if the agreement does not allow it.

This is because some agreements may provide restrictions on when an employee can be scheduled to work.  This means that an employer may not be able to terminate an employee if the agreement does not allow it based on the agreed-upon working hours.

Am I Entitled to Overtime for Working Black Friday?

Federal and New York law permit an employee to be paid overtime for all hours worked above 40 hours in a workweek at a rate of 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate of pay.  Therefore, an employee is not automatically entitled to overtime for working on Black Friday.  The employee must accumulate more than 40 hours in a workweek before he or she is entitled to overtime wages.

Were You Terminated for Refusing to Work on Black Friday?  Call Our Law Firm to Learn Your Rights

The experienced New York City wage and hour attorneys at SAMUEL & STEIN are dedicated to asserting and defending the rights of employers and working people throughout New York and New Jersey.  We have the resources, experience, and knowledge necessary to ensure your legal rights are protected and you are not taken advantage of.  Call us today by dialing (646) 480-2149 or use the convenient “Evaluate Now” box on our webpage.  Together we can help answer your questions and protect your rights.

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