Can they ask me why I can’t go to training on my day off?

Can an employer ask an employee why they cannot attend a training course that is outside of the employee’s working schedule? (Days off) If so, is “personal reasons” sufficient enough?

Rita Risser Chai replies:

As long as they are going to pay you (if you are an hourly employee), they can require you to attend the training. “Personal reasons” is not good enough, just as it is not good enough on a regular day of work. You would have to have some kind of legally allowable excuse such as having to care for a disabled dependent, unable to work on the Sabbath, or something similar. Sorry. I believe I speak for all trainers everywhere that we hate it when employees are forced to go to training on their days off.

Posted 12-06-2016

Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.


About the Author:

Rita M. Risser Chai is the founder of Fair Measures. An attorney in California for 20 years and now an attorney in Hawaii, she authored the Prentice Hall book, Stay Out of Court! The Manager’s Guide to Preventing Employee Lawsuits. She developed most of the curriculum used by Fair Measures, created the firm’s first website praised in HR Magazine, and wrote numerous articles on employment law including one on best practice harassment prevention training published in the magazine of the American Society for Training and Development (now ATD). She taught Law and Human Resources at the University of California, Santa Cruz, for eight years, and has presented four times at the annual conventions of the Hawaii Society of Human Resource Management.