Can the security department of a public technical college force you to supervise inmates?

My employer is forcing us to watch inmates and make them sign in and out on their breaks. We are a technical college security department, these are inmates brought from correctional

facilities to learn welding. Can my employer legally force me to do this as an employee? What can I do? I don’t want to do it. I was a corrections officer for 7 years and I left the job to get away from it.

Asked on May 25, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unless this action is violating the terms of a union agreement or employment contract, it is legal. Otherwise, the fact is that your employer can set the conditions of work much as it sees fit. This includes supervising enrolled inmates.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can be legally required to do this. Your employer may require its employees to do anything which is not inherently illegal (unless it is contrary to a written employment contract; if there is a contract, the employees can't be made to do anything in violation of its terms), and there is nothing inherently illegal (unwise, perhaps) about non-correctional officers having a role in supervising prisoners when they are at a college.

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