Can I be suspended without pay to receive counseling and be forced to pay for it?

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Can I be suspended without pay to receive counseling and be forced to pay for it?

While at work and on the clock, the owner’s wife, who was under the influence of alcohol, decided to start messing with me physically and hanging on my neck with all her body weight. I removed her hands from around my neck and when I let go of her arms she fell to the ground. I walked away and offered no apology. I felt I did nothing wrong. But 2 days later the owner told me I was being “given the week off” to get anger counselling. I have no health insurance and he refused to pay for the counselling. It’s an hourly job with no benefits. What can I do?

Asked on February 1, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There really isn't much that you can do; your employer can do this.  The majority of employment arrangements are what is known as "at will", and FL is no exception.  What this means is 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 obtaining anger management counseling at your own expense).  An employee in turn can work for an employer or not, their choice.  Exceptions would be 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 any of the foregoing, your employer's action does not violate the law.


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