Can an employer write you up for not being at work due to bad weather?
We have been told by our employer, (a hotel), that should inclement weather occur, we must stay the night at the hotel or be written up should not be able to make it to work. Is this legal?
While harsh, it is legal. if you are an "at will" employee (and most of us are), your employer can hire or fire someone for any reason or no reason whatsoever, as well as generally impose requirements as it sees fit; including an inclement weather policy. You, in turn, can choose to work for your employer or not.
The only exceptions to at-will employment would be if: there is a stated company policy covering this, or there is a union/employment agreement that governs, or this situation has arisen due to some type of discrimination (there can be no difference in treatment based on race, religion, age, disability, sex, national origin, etc).
The good news is that you may have a have a claim to compensation for the hours that you must stay over. You can check on this with the NC Department of Labor: http://www.nclabor.com/
Yes, it's legal except for the two situations I'll describe below. Generally speaking, all employment is employment at will. This means not only may hire and fire employees any time for any reason, but they can set any work conditions, terms, or requirements they like that are themselves not violative of some law, such as a safety or criminal law.
The two exceptions are:
1) If there's an employment contract to the contrary, including a "contract" formed by clear, unequivocable, no-disclaimer statements in an employee handbook (if the handbook is made available to employees and there's no "wiggle room" on its terms, it may be found to form a contract); if there is some contract, then the employer is bound by its terms.
2) If the employer is discriminating against a protected category, such as against a race, religion, gender, age over 40, or disability in the rules it enforces.
IMPORTANT! If you are an hourly employee, if you are forced by the employer to stay over, some or all of the time may constitute work time for which you need to be paid. Go to the Department of Labor website and look under "wages and hours" for more information.