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

UPDATED: Feb 1, 2011

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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


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

Answered 11 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.

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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