Can our employer threaten job termination if we do not consent to attend a work-related seminar?

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Can our employer threaten job termination if we do not consent to attend a work-related seminar?

We are personal trainers. We are subcontracted. No salary. No payroll. No contracts. We get paid by the hour on a availability basis. The seminar in question is a life coaching seminar which requires sharing personal feelings and emotions to other people. We repeatedly expressed our disinterest in this program and now we are threatened with termination or loss of wages. Does our employer have a right to enforce policies like this on subcontractors?

Asked on May 5, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You say there is no written contract (though there's always at least an oral or verbal agreement; e.g. as to rates, etc.). In that case, the client (the "employer") is likely free to insist on this; in the absence of terms to the contrary obligating the client to keep using a given contractor or subcontractor, the client is free to simply stop giving you work or hiring you if you do not due what it wants--just as you are free to stop working for this client if you don't like the conditions or requirements it puts on you to get the work. It has to pay you for all work done to date, of course, but may decide to not make use of you in the future if you will not do what it wants.


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