Is it unlawful for my employer to not allow me to leave the office if I’ve expressed I was uncomfortable?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it unlawful for my employer to not allow me to leave the office if I’ve expressed I was uncomfortable?

I was called into a meeting with my store manager male and assistant manager female to address my back-pay. As soon as my store manager began talking, I immediately told him that

Asked on February 7, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Alabama


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It is perfectly lawful for your employer to tell you to not leave the room or to require you to listen to him, for however long he wants. He cannot actually lock you in or kidnap you, of course--if he does, that is a crime--but you can be terminated (or anything less than termination, like demotion or suspension) if you leave before your employer tells you that you may leave. And if you are fired, it would be "for cause"--for ignoring instructions--and you would not be eligible for unemployment. Similarly, you could be terminated for cause if you don't return to work.
Your employer, not you, determines where you should be and what you must do at work. Your only option if you don't like this supervisor or what this workplace is like is to seek other employment.

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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