Is it legal if my boss is telling me that because I work for him, I have to go wake up a co-worker by driving to his house and banging on the doors and windows?

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Is it legal if my boss is telling me that because I work for him, I have to go wake up a co-worker by driving to his house and banging on the doors and windows?

He even told me one time to break a window to get in, and he would pay for it. He tells me that I am being insubordinate by not doing this. Another issue is, my boss is making me pick up/drop off another employee from his house. He tells me that I have to do what he says because I am his employee.

Asked on July 18, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Minnesota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) No, your boss cannot tell you do anything illegal, like breaking a window or breaking and entering. Or rather, he can tell you to do this, but if you do it, *you* are the one who will be arrested--it is no defense to a crime to say "my boss told me to do it."

2) Your boss can ask you to something legal but annoying and unfair, like having to drive coworkers or wage coworkers. An employer may make anything not illegal part of the job, and can fire you, because employment is "employment at will," if you don't do it.

3) If you employer requires you to go somewhere, do something, etc.--like drive coworkers around or go to a coworker's home and wake him--that is *work* time and, if you are an hourly employee, you must be paid for it. Failure to pay you for doing work tasks required by your employer is a violation of the wage and hour laws (e.g. the Fair Labor Standards Act) and you could file a compliant with the state labor department.


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