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Can I Be Forced to Work Shifts for Hurricane Coverage?

Nurse Attorney   (281 Views 1 Comments)
by Lorie Brown RN, MN, JD Lorie Brown RN, MN, JD (Advice Column) Writer Expert Verified

Lorie Brown RN, MN, JD has 30 years experience .

11 Followers; 8 Articles; 5,734 Profile Views; 101 Posts

Hi Lorie

I live in South Florida and I am on Team B for hurricane coverage which means I go in post-storm. I am expected to work Tonight 7pm to 7:30 am and Thursday 7pm-7:30 am for "Post Storm". My dilemma is I'm already scheduled for Fri & Sat nights. That means 4 nights in a row. I already worked Sunday night Sept 1st. 
Do I have any legal way to not work all those shifts?

Dear Hurricane Dilemma

Thanks for the great and timely question.  Employment law comes from the ancient master-servant relationship.  Therefore, your employer can ask you to do anything they want.  If they need you for post-disaster relief and then the weekend, it is your responsibility to comply.  If you think that is too much, ask your employer to change your schedule or find someone to trade.  

If you are scheduled to work, you must show up or face discipline up to and including termination.  Some states have laws preventing mandatory overtime but I do not think Florida is one of them especially in an emergency situation.  

The only way to get this changed is by changing the law or sometimes through union or an employment contract.  I know this is not what you want to hear but I hope this helps.

Good luck


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