Is it legal for your boss to fire you for not attending unpaid off-hours training?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it legal for your boss to fire you for not attending unpaid off-hours training?

I worked hourly part-time at a place for several years. I used to attend unpaid training sessions but stopped when I no longer learned anything. My boss said I could lose hours if i didn’t go to training in an email, when I asked if training was mandatory I received no response and was fired. Is this legal?

Asked on February 2, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New York


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

First, all work time is compensable. That means that you must be paid for it. As to that part of your situation, you seem to be moving in the direction, namely filing a wage claim with the department of labor. With respect to your termination, unless you had an employment contract or union agreement to the contrary, you were an "at will" worker which means that you could have been fired for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice. Bottom line, absent legally actionable discrimination, a company can set the conditions of work much as it sees fit. 

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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