Can an employer legally make you choose between your education or work?

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Can an employer legally make you choose between your education or work?

I’m a full-time college student. My employer knew that when I was hired. This semester my employer is expecting me to miss class to work. Due to us being short staffed, she says that I have to do the shift. Can she legally come between my educational obligations and pursuit to a better life?

Asked on September 7, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, your education is of no legal concern to your employer. The fact is that in an "at will" employment arrangement, an employer can hire/fire, promote/demote, increase/decrease salary/hours and generally mandate any other terms and condition that it sees fit. In turn, an employer can work for an employer or not, their choice.

The above holds true unless there is an employment/union agreement,  or company policy that provides otherwise. Also, if your treatment was a form of actionable discrimination, that too would effect your employer's actions.

Bottom line, your employer is breaking no laws; requiring you to work this shift is perfectly permissible.


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