Q: I was late for a shift by 1-2 minutes. It was my first tardy. As a result, I was sent home without pay. Is this legal?
I am employed through a 3rd party/contract house. We are asked to arrive 15 minutes ahead of shift. and I typically show up to work 30 minutes early or more and have never been late in my 9 months at the job. I called/texted two supervisors to let them know there were extenuating, verifiable circumstances - multiple crashes and the freeway shut down due to a semi wreck - and gave them my ETA on site which was 3 minutes before shift and told them i may be late but would be there. I arrived at the office door barely 2 minutes late. A recent procedure change at the work place is that supervisors lock the door where employees are given their assignment, at shift start. Unscheduled workers can come to see if work is available, and if you are late at all, they will give your work to that person. I’m required to wait while this happens and would be marked as an absence otherwise - a negative mark on my employment record. I was sent home without any pay. Is this legal?
Absent a contract, you are generally considered in Michigan to be an "at-will" employee, meaning you or your employer may sever the relationship at any time for any reason. Put simply, you are not entitled to work, making this employer's actions quite likely legal if not a bit draconian.
Whether it's a sensible decision on the employer's part is a different question, and one only the company can answer for itself. Apparently, it works for them.
In today's market, with the availability of jobs, and your status as an outside contractor to this company, you may want to consider whether you want to subject yourself to those sort of rules going forward or take your talents elsewhere.
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