What are my rights if I work front desk at a hotel and my GM wants me to scrub the base boards of our breakfast room but it is not standard SOP for the front desk?

When I said it was not part of my job, she threaten to fire me. Can she do that?

Asked on August 18, 2014 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Unless you have a written employment contract which protects your job and defines your exact responsibilities, you are an "employee at will." Being an employee at will means that your job is whatever your supervisor tells you it is, whether it is SOP or not. Furthermore, as an employee at will, you may be fired at any time, for any reason whatsover (including refusing to follow instructions, insubordination, or just that your supervisor doesn't like you or wants to make an example of you), so long as the reason is not illegal discrimination based on protected characteristic, such as your sex, religion, race, disability, or age or 40. (Note: a woman, a minority, a disabled person, etc. can be fired--they just can't be fired *because* they are woman, minority, disabled, etc.) So yes--you can be fired if you don't do as your GM asks.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.