Can an employer tell you that you may not meet with your significant other while on a business trip?

UPDATED: Mar 25, 2011

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Can an employer tell you that you may not meet with your significant other while on a business trip?

My employer recently gave me a written reprimand outlining things I must immediately change. On the list was meeting with my girlfriend on business trips. I would understand this if we were using company resources but when we met I paid for food, lodging, travel expenses, etc.

Asked on March 25, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio


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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Yes, your employer can require this.  The fact is that in most states, OH included, employment is what is known as "at will".  Accordingly, an employee can work for an employer or not, their choice. And in turn, an employer can hire or fire an employee for any reason or no reason whatsoever, as well has increase/decrease salary/hours, promote/demote, etc as they see fit.  Including who they may or may not see on a business trip - even on the employees own time. 

The exceptions to the above would be if there is a stated company policy contrary to the way in which your situation is being handled, or there is a union/employment agreement that does not allow for such action, or this situation has arisen due to some type of discrimination.

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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