Can an employer impose a penalty on you for missing a deadline if you were not previously aware that you could be penalized for this?

UPDATED: Jun 13, 2011

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Can an employer impose a penalty on you for missing a deadline if you were not previously aware that you could be penalized for this?

My manager recently told me that she is imposing a penalty on missing deadlines and because I did not turn something in on time, she will move my anniversary review back 1 month. Can she do that? If so, should she inform the whole office of this new penalty for missing deadlines?

Asked on June 13, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Connecticut


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unless this is a direct violation of company policy, based on discrimination, or runs counter to an employment contract or union agreement, your employer can do this. Such action does not violate any law. While seemingly unfair your employer is well within its legal rights. The fact is that most employment relationships are "at will". Therefore, as a general rule, 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 it sees fit. In turn, an employee can work for an employer or not, their choice.

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 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.

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