Alright, well, first let me say I can't really guess exactly what was going on here, since I don't have all of the facts, including those from the employer's perspective. So, although I can discuss the law in Florida as it relates to PTO and disciplinary action
, I can't ultimately tell you if the employer have violated their own rules or engaged in unlawful discrimination
What I can tell you is that there is no Florida or Federal law that requires that an employer offer any paid time off at all to their employees. However, if they do, they are allowed to set the rules for the use of that time. They must simply apply their rules evenly to all employees who qualify for PTO. Also, although, with few exceptions, an employer may not necessarily tell an employee what they can and can't do on their own time, they can actually discipline them for off-duty behavior. In addition, an employer may set the rules for participating in a company event, whether on or off duty. So, as long as an employer is not discriminating in their employment actions and benefits because of someone's gender, race, national origin, age (over 40), religion, disability, pregnancy, or AIDS/hiv status, then the employer is not violating the law if they discipline them or otherwise take an employment action, even if the action is arbitrary and misguided.
The employment laws
in Florida, as in most states, strongly favor the employer. So, unless you have evidence that your employer violated a contract, company policy or an employment discrimination law in directing you not to go to this function and then taking an adverse employment action against you for doing so, even on your PTO time, then you will not have any legal recourse.
That said, you might try speaking to your HR Department, or to your boss's boss and see if they will reconsider the suspension and pay you for the suspended day.
Please let me know if you have any follow up questions. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.