Can a company require you to pay for a class that is mandatory as part of a disciplinary? Also, can you be required to take the test off of the clock?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a company require you to pay for a class that is mandatory as part of a disciplinary? Also, can you be required to take the test off of the clock?

While driving my company truck, the
vehicle slid on wet conditions and
became stuck in a customers yard. I was
disciplined through a write up and told
that I had to go online and take a
driving course that cost 45.00 and that
I have to pay the fee out of my pocket.
Also I am being required to do the
course on my time, off of the clock. Is
this type of punishment legal?

Asked on November 16, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is legal, unless you have a written employment contract for a definite or defined period of time (such as a one-year contract) which is still in effect and which guarantees the terms of your employment or prohibits this in some fashion. Without such a contract, you are an "employee at will." An employee at will may have the terms of his or her job changed at any time, for any reason. He or she may also be fired at any time, for any reason, including what you describe having happened. Since you could be terminated, they could take any action short of or less than termination that they want, such as requiring you to take class on your own time and at your own cost. If you refuse to do so, they may terminate you.

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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