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Under what circumstances is an inconvenient work schedule considered employment discrimination?

Juggling the demands of work life and family life can often be challenging.  Fortunately for many, employers are increasingly understanding of outside demands and have allowed more opportunities for flex-time and remote working arrangements.  However, such arrangements do not make business sense for all work places. A recent case examined the question of when, and under what circumstances does an inconvenient work schedule constitute employment discrimination.

The case examined a worker’s request for a shift change in order to assist with childcare for her grandchildren.  Her workplace denied the request, and she asserted claims for sex and age discrimination. 

Numerous cases have held that schedule changes imposed by employers on employees, which then lead to childcare difficulties may be considered an adverse employment action.  Further, being switched to undesirable work schedules is often the basis of claims for retaliation. 

However, here the court determined that the failure to accommodate a requested shift change did not constitute an adverse employment action.  The fact that she made the request, rather than the employer demanding a change was the difference.

The court left open the possibility though, that in certain situations inconvenient work schedules may be the basis of an employment discrimination claim, depending on the facts of the particular situation. 

For more information or if you believe that you or a loved one may have suffered employment discrimination, please contact our dedicated Atlanta employment lawyers for an immediate consultation. 

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