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Does an Inconvenient Work Schedule Qualify as Employment Discrimination?


Most employers set and define the schedules for each of their employees. But as most individuals know, obligations frequently occur outside of the workplace that calls for attention such as childcare, helping a disabled relative, or even just needing an alternative schedule for one’s own needs.

But sometimes there may not be much flexibility in your schedule when you ask, or you are suddenly facing a shift in your schedule that was unexpected.

If you find yourself wondering if a sudden and inconvenient work schedule change might qualify as discrimination, this article should help give you a better understanding of potential scenarios that may count.

Note: The following is not legal advice. It is meant to be general information only. Please consult with a Columbus employment discrimination lawyer from Coffman Legal for legal advice and guidance.

What is Inconvenience Discrimination?

Typically, an inflexible work schedule does not count as employment discrimination.

A shift schedule overlapping with a personal event or a schedule change denial will usually not qualify as employment discrimination. But there are cases where certain circumstances may qualify an irregular schedule as employment discrimination (sometimes called inconvenience discrimination in the case of an irregular schedule).

An example of this could be inflexibility in schedule adjustments that would accommodate a disabled employee.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, disabled individuals are afforded a number of protections in the workplace, including the right to request reasonable accommodations. Reasonable accommodations can include work task changes, reserved parking, adjustments made to equipment or software, and a flexible schedule.

If a disabled employee requests a flexible schedule as a reasonable accommodation and is denied, there could be legal claims in this instance.

Irregular work scheduling and its consequences will vary based on the individual situation – which is why speaking with a lawyer from Coffman Legal, LLC to help determine if you are facing discrimination in the workplace can be beneficial.

What are the Grounds for Discrimination?

The grounds of discrimination are the protected characteristics of an individual that are protected by federal and state law. These grounds include:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Military status
  • Sexual orientation and gender identity
  • National origin
  • Pregnancy
  • Color
  • Disability
  • Genetic information

Employment discrimination occurs when a coworker, supervisor, contractor, or even a customer treats another employee differently or less favorably based on one or more of the above grounds.

Some of the federal laws that protect employee rights include the ADA, the Equal Pay Act, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. These laws cover many of the above characteristics in conjunction with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

What Qualifies as Workplace Discrimination?

There are a number of different things that can qualify as workplace discrimination. Some common kinds of workplace discrimination include:

  • Employment retaliation
  • Discrimination during pregnancy or afterward
  • Denial of reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities
  • Harassment – physical, verbal, or in writing
  • Denial of work benefits such as health insurance, 401K, and more
  • A hostile work environment
  • Wrongful termination
  • Demotion
  • Reductions in pay or hours

An inconvenient work schedule could have potential grounds for employment discrimination in a few instances.

For example, if you recently reported workplace harassment or discrimination to HR and you suddenly have a change to your schedule that impacts your ability to pick up or drop off your children, you could be facing a case of employment discrimination.

If you believe that a schedule change is based on discriminatory bias against you or meant in a retaliatory manner, you should start documenting the circumstances as soon as possible and connect with an employment discrimination lawyer.

Book a Consultation with a Columbus Employment Discrimination Lawyer

Like other areas of employment law, the question of whether or not an inconvenient work schedule can qualify as employment discrimination can be complex. Instances of suspected retaliation and interruption of childcare may qualify as employment discrimination – but speaking with a lawyer can help further determine if you have a case on your hands.

You can schedule a consultation with a seasoned Columbus employment discrimination lawyer from Coffman Legal who will be able to take a look at your case and circumstances. We can determine if you have grounds for a legal claim.

Reach out over the phone at 614-949-1181 or through our online contact form today.


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