Can a job fire you for not taking a certification test that’s not required bystate law?

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Can a job fire you for not taking a certification test that’s not required bystate law?

My 64 year old mother is a dental assistant that has worked for the same dental practice for 25 years. Recently the practice wants all assistants to be certified and take a test that cost $350. She has explained to her employer that she only has a year left until she retires but they are trying to force her with termination if she doesn’t take it, even withholding her las review and increase from last year. Can they do this?

Asked on September 14, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Actually, your mother's employer can do this. In an "at will" employment relationship, an employer can hire/fire, promote/demote, increase/decrease salary/hours and impose most any other terms or conditions that it sees fit. For their part, an employee can continue to work for an employer or not.

This all holds true unless, this action violates existing company policy or an employment contract or union agreement. Also, if some form of actionable discrimination is a factor in such treatment.

Note:  There can be no discrimination against an employee if they are over age 40; however since all employees must take this test she would have a hard time making such a claim.


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