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RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 11994
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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Im a commissioned sales person. I work long hours, work thru

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I'm a commissioned sales person. I work long hours, work thru lunch, and take work home. My work ethic is very important to me, and I work extremely hard. I was 5 minutes late to work on Tuesday morning. My boss/owner barged into my office and berated me for being 5 minutes late and said that as my consequence I would work on Saturday from 10-2. I told her that I had previous engament scheduled for this weekend, a friends wedding. She said it was non negotiable. It was a no tollerance policy? This is the first time I have heard of the no tollerance policy. I asked her what was the alternative if I chose to go to my previously scheduled wedding and not work, she said then I would be quitting. Can she do this??? Is it legal?
Thank you for your question.

Oklahoma, like most states, is an "at will" employment state. That means that unless you have an employment agreement/union contract that addresses the terms of your employment, an employer is free ot run their company in a manner they deem is best, XXXXX XXXXX as decisions are not based on race, sex, religion, national origin, physical disability, and age, or public policy (e.g., punishing an employee for reporting an employer who commits a criminal act).

Thus, your employers "no tolerance policy", while not based on any law, doesn't have to be. It may not be the best business practice or the proper way to treat a dedicated employee, but so long as their actions do not run afoul of the law in terms of things like hiring, firing, promotions, benefits, job assignment, etc. it is legal.

As far as saying that you would be "quitting", well, an employer can't make you quit. They can terminate you, but then it may be easier for you to get unemployment, whereas an employee who quits is generally deemed ineligible because it is seen as a voluntary separation from employment.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your response.


My boss unfortunately is a bully, yells, belittles employees in front of their peers. She is harassing, and uses it to control people. Again, it's unfortunate. I have finally realized it's time to look for another job. A coworker of mine, finally had enough and quit last week. She could not take the abuse any longer.



My boss sent me a text message tonight, stating that if I do not show up for work tomorrow, that I understand that I am quitting and it is my choice.


So to clarify, If I do not go to work tomorrow, I would not be quitting, she would be firing me? If so, how do I make that clear that I did not chose to quit?


No, perhaps I wasn't clear. If you were to for example show up to work, get into an argument with your boss and she said "That's it, go home, you've quit your job, clean out your desk" -well, it's clear you didn't quit -that you were terminated.

If you simply don't show up at all though, she would be well within her rights to terminate you for insubordination -failing to follow a direct instruction given to you and not work a scheduled shift. You could certainly try to argue to unemployment that this was a case of "constructive discharge" and that you had no choice but to quit, but that's very difficult to prove. And unfortunately, merely being rude, unprofessional, talking down to employees, etc. isn't unlawful, so long as it is not discriminatory in nature or does not violate public policy.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Last clarifying question. I was told to work Saturday, because she was mad at me. I was not scheduled to work (I have a wedding party to go to), another employee was to work. She gave that employee the day off. I do not want to miss my friend's special time (I expressed this to my boss) for my crappy boss and her controlling ways.


What should I do? What would you tell a close friend of yours to do?

While I understand the circumstances, I guess it depends on how badly you need the job - because legally, your boss can force you to work. If you don't show up, there's a good chance you will be terminated, and then likely denied unemployment to boot, since it could be seen as insubordination/misconduct by failing to show up as required. z

If it was me, or a friend - I'd say as much as it isn't right or fair -it's legal - so I'd suck it up and work. But you can bet I'd be looking for a new job because from what you describe, it's a pretty toxic work environment.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I appreciate your honesty, time, and help!!!! I feel confident in how to move forward now, Thank you so much! Enjoy your weekend!

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX Please remember to leave a positive rating, as that is the only way I am compensated for my time.

Have a good weekend!
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