Refusal to Travel due to safety alert

My job is asking me to travel to Bangladesh.
However, there is a travel warning on the State
Department website regarding terrorist threats.
How do I phrase my refusal to travel without
giving my employer grounds for termination?

Asked on March 20, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Do you have an employment contract or union agreement that provides you protection in such a situation? If not, then as an "at will" worker your company can set the conditions of your employment much as it sees fit, absent some form of actionable discrimination. So while you can't be "forced" to take this trip, you can be terminated for not doing so.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can't prevent your employer from terminating you over this, unless you have a still-in-effect written employment contract for a definite term (e.g. a one-year, two-year, five-year, etc. contract) which prevents termination for this reason. Otherwise, your employer can terminate you for any reason whatsoever--including refusing to travel to a country for which there is a travel warning. You need to first decide, before you say anything, if you are willing to potentially be fired for this--if not, then don't say anything and go; if you are willing to take that chance, all you can do is be as diplomatic and respectful as possible when you speak to your employer, and share with them all the evidence or documents supporting your position.


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