is it legal if my employer told me that if I’m late for work they would fine me and my employees and ultimately possibly terminate us?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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is it legal if my employer told me that if I’m late for work they would fine me and my employees and ultimately possibly terminate us?

I’m wondering if that is legal and, if not, what legal action can I take? I make $10 an hour as a store manager. We will be fined $50 for the first infraction, $75 for the second and $100 for the third with the forth resulting in termination.

Asked on December 26, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, the fine is legal if you are warned of it ahead of time: if you are warned of a fine or penalty, then by continuing to work there after knowledge of the fine, you can be said to have agreed to it, and therefore can be held to it.
Unless you have a written employment contract guarantying your job or protecting you from being fired for this reason, you could be terminated for being late--even the very first time. When you lack a written employment contract, you are an "employee at will" and may be terminated at any time, for any reason whatsoever, without prior warnings. When you have no contract, you have no right to or guaranty of a job.

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