Can an employer hinder or prohibit an employee from a secondary education?

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Can an employer hinder or prohibit an employee from a secondary education?

At my work (field of criminal justice), employees are subject to mandatory overtime, known as “drafts”. Past practice has been when an employee is enrolled in school, he or she may submit a memorandum requesting “draft exemption” for the duration of school. These were routinely approved. The administration is now stating that any employee that is not a criminal justice major will be denied a draft exemption. Employees who refuse to work mandatory overtime, regardless of the reasons, are subject to progressive disciplinary procedures up to and including termination.

Asked on February 15, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Your employer most probably mandate this.  The fact is that majority of employment arrangements are what is known as "at will", and PA is no exception.  This means that an employer can hire or fire someone for any reason or no reason whatsoever, as well has increase/decrease salary/hours, promote/demote, and generally impose requirements as they see fit (this includes education exemptions)).  An employee in turn can work for an employer or not, their choice. 

There are however certain exceptions that may apply to the above.  For instance, if there is a stated company policy contrary to this, or there is a union/employment agreement that does not allow for such  action, or this situation has arisen due to some type of discrimination (i.e., for reasons due to your race, religion, age, disability, sex, national origin).  Absent anything oof such a nature, your employer's action does not violate the law.


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