can I refuse overnight business travel?

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A reader writes:

Our company is switching software for our management systems. We have two locations in our area, and the company is telling us that we are to close our offices and all of our staff are required to travel three hours away with two overnight stays to be trained on the new system.

This seems unreasonable to me. We all have families and personal obligations. We will be training with coworkers from this other city who get to go home each night. We do not work in an industry that typically requires business travel so none of us agreed to travel when we accepted our jobs. I realize to many it may not seem like a big deal but to parents with small children and people with pets, this seems unfair. It does not seem reasonable that we have our lives hijacked for three days and two nights. Can it really be more cost-effective to pay for travel, meals, and hotels for five people? Five people who are angry and disgruntled about having this hardship placed on their lives in order to keep their jobs? It really does not seem fair.

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