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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12034
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I'm in California. I'm a salary employee and performing

Customer Question

I'm in California. I'm a salary employee and performing exceptionally well in my position for a small company. I'vereceived both bonus and raise this past 15mo of my employment with them. I applied to the (M-F 830-530pm with occasional business travel) position and shared in my interviews I wanted to complete my MBA. I have been taking classes at night and on the weekends and will finish my degree in the next 6mo. Rarely to never do conflicts occur and most after hours work events my boss demands attendance I can actively participate in. As a whole, my boss is awful as a manager. When I've shared I had a conflict or class he says it's fine and then the week before the conflict he says I have to go and then yells, denies he gave approval to not attend and then try's to guilt me in attending. This has happened three times in a year now. He's very insecure, unorganized and I'm afraid with two future events that may have a conflict that when I bring it up to him, he will revert back to micromanagement and such that I see as a form of retaliation. I don't talk about or do school at the office as the few times I've mentioned it around teammates I feel the rath of my bosses insecurities. I do classes and studies on my own time, after work and on the weekends.
Does he have grounds to demand I attend conflict events. If I miss too many classes (so far only one in 15mo) then I have to retake the courses, if he continues to demand attendance as he has recently for after hours work events, am I able to sue him or the company for reimbursement of my out of pocket expenses for tuition, books and time encured for that quarter that is prevented? I'm funding my schooling on my own and currently hold a sales position and am #2 performer in the company of 10 salespeople. As it is, I have honors in several of my grad classes as well.
I look forward to your guidance.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.

While I can completely understand your frustration with this situation, it is not one in which you would typically have any legal rights or protection. This is simply because the law does not require employers to accommodate an employee's school attendance. The law also does not require employers to be fair or reasonable. Absent an express agreement to the contrary, employment is "at will" and thus terminable or modifiable at any time for any reason not amounting to discrimination on the basis of a legally protected trait (race, religion, gender, etc.) or retaliation for engaging in certain forms of legally protected conduct (filing a wage claim, taking FMLA leave, etc.). It doesn't matter whether the basis for termination/modification is fair, reasonable or even true.

So, the situation you find yourself in is just not one in which the law provides any guidance. As unfair and ridiculous as it is, your employer is free to get mad at you and even retaliate against you due to class conflicts, even if you explained these conflicts weeks in advance. All you can attempt to do is manage this situation on an interpersonal level. This means continuing to do what you have been doing, by warning your employer as much in advance as you can about potential conflicts, and trying to avoid conflicts as much as possible. It is an unfortunate reality that often times people trying to better themselves by obtaining an MBA or other advanced degree do put a strain on their existing employment relationship. Ultimately, if you have to choose between the degree you have invested so much time and money into and the job you are presumably trying to move up from, I think for most people the correct choice will be clear.

I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.