Can my employer force me to pay for a certification class or quit?

UPDATED: May 22, 2012

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Can my employer force me to pay for a certification class or quit?

I work for a construction contractor. My employer told me today that I must go to a class next week (missing a days pay) and pay for a class to become fire watch certified or find another job. I feel as though this is extortion. And want to know If it’s legal.

Asked on May 22, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Louisiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is legal: an employer may determine the required credentials, training, certifications, etc. which are necessary to hold a job. It can require employees to obtain those credentials on their own time (including by taking an unpaid day, or using a vacation or other PTO day, if the chance for the class is during the workweek) and at their own expense. If an employee does not have the required credential or training by the time the employer wants him or her to have it, the employer may terminate the employee.

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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