Can My Manager Assign Me To Work Till 3 A.M.?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about being scheduled for late hours:

I work in a retail store in a mall. The store closes at 9 pm and some employees are scheduled to clean and restock till 10 pm.I’ve worked at this company 15 months part time. I was told to set my own hours and request specific days and hours I could or could not work. Since I am a full time college student I never work on Tuesday, Wed. or Thurs. Also, as my employer is very well aware, I have Bible classes on Thursday evenings after school therefore I have never requested that day/evening to work. I have never had a problem with the schedule or any of the employees or managers. However, one month ago we got a new manager at our store. While it is not her job to do the time scheduling, she has decided to do it anyhow. She continually schedules me for days and hours I have not requested. Sometimes, rather than having to approach her because of another mistake in my schedule I simply make adjustments when and if I can.

The new manager and all the employees are aware that I go to Bible classes several times a week. Therefore I NEVER EVER work Thursday evenings even if I am on semester break, as I am now. The new manager seems to like me so she likes me to *close* the store with her (no one likes to *close* as it involves a LOT more work than dealing with customers – and no one likes the new manager so they hate being scheduled to close when she is on).

The new manager has gotten into the habit of scheduling me to work on nights I have not agreed to work on. It’s as if she doesn’t *get it* and doesn’t consider our work requests !!!! Still, I can put up with all that. My problem is that she has scheduled me to *close* with her next Thursday evening. I brought it to her attention that I do NOT work on Thursday evenings because of my Bible classes. She said fine… then I will simply have to come in AFTER the class, at 11:00 PM and work until 3:00AM with her to do the year end restocking.

My question is: Can the manager do this? Can she make me come in, when I’m not full time and have never scheduled myself to work not just Thursday night, but worse, graveyard? I hate to use my *religion* as an excuse to not show up but honestly, after a religious class my mind is spent and exhausted. My parents are NOT happy about this arrangement since the mall that I work at has had many abductions or assaults in the parking lot at night. I’m not sure how to handle this situation so I would like to ask your advice. Thank you.

Signed, Dead Beat or Beat Dead

Dear Dead Beat or Beat Dead:

You are not oppressed or mistreated. Rather, it is up to you, as you have done to some extent, to make your schedule preferences known and also to adjust to times you are needed. Those who make assignments usually try not to assign hours that are clearly not wanted. Have you put in writing and spoken clearly about the times you want and do not want? You may have to do so more than once and provide the reasons for your preferences.

Your Bible study nights apparently are important to you. So make that clear. However, you will find that once you are full time and really need a job, likely you will need to fit your religious activities into hours that do not conflict with your work. Regarding the boss’s order or request that seems like an order to work into the night, you will have to state that you are afraid to go to the parking lot at 3 a.m. and do not want to work that late unless a security guard will be provided to see you to your car or simply say no.

If the choice is to work late and fear going to the parking lot or to work the regular Thursday night hours by skipping Bible study, you will have to decide. Life and work will have much more difficult decisions that this one. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOs. Have you thought about your work this way?

William Gorden