Yes, your boss can fire you for traveling home for the holidays

8 On Your Side

TAMPA (WFLA) – Some of you may be planning on traveling home for the holidays. But with coronavirus cases rising and some states still imposing travel restrictions, can your boss ask you to cancel your trip or show you the door?

With Christmas just ten days away, the holiday travel season is in full swing and 8 On Your Side is looking into whether your employer can legally cancel your Christmas travel plans saying, ’tis the season’ to stay at home.

Travelers at Tampa International Airport were split on what an employer should do in this situation.

“I did not ask my boss if I could travel but he did request when I come home I get a COVID test,” said one woman.

“I’m a compliant employee, if my boss says no travel, I don’t travel,” said another man.

8 On Your Side wondered, if legally, supervisors can cancel holiday getaways.

Terin Cremer is an employment attorney in Tampa. She says your employer gives you time off and he or she can take it away and that it all depends on company policy.

“They could of course say, no it’s not approved anymore because we’re concerned in traveling home, you’re going to bring back COVID,” said Cremer.

Your employer can ask to be notified if you are going to be traveling.

“Can they tell you, you cannot travel?” asked investigator Mahsa Saeidi.

“They can’t tell you not to travel, but they can say that they will not allow people who travel to return to work,” said Cremer.

In Florida, employment is at will. Cremer says, as long as your boss isn’t violating a contract, civil rights or anti-discrimination laws, you can be fired for any reason, including refusing to follow your companies coronavirus policy.

Employers are allowed to impose these restrictions to keep COVID-19 out and the workplace safe.

“It is well within an employer’s rights to protect, and in fact, they have an obligation to protect the health and welfare of their employees,” said Cremer.

Once the coronavirus vaccine becomes more widely available, your employer could require that you get vaccinated. However, it doesn’t mean that they will.

“You can always ask for a religious accommodation or a medical accommodation,” said Cremer.

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