Even though I didn’t participate in an incident, can my employer still suspend me?

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Even though I didn’t participate in an incident, can my employer still suspend me?

About 2 weeks ago, I was out on deliveries with 2 other people. During deliveries, the 2 girls I was with violated a resident’s property and I witnessed what happened but didn’t get involved. The next day, the 2 girls were suspended and sent home but I was told to write down what happened. A week later, I was called into the office and they suspended me. I assured them that I didn’t do anything wrong but they sent me home and wouldn’t tell me when I had to come back. So basically it’s like they fired me, but why didn’t they suspend me the same week the incident happen? And why won’t they tell me for how long I’m suspended? Can I sue my manager for something like this?

Asked on October 12, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you could have been suspended (or even fired) for this reason, any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice. That is unless your treatment constitutes some form of legally actionable discrimination (which you did not indicate), or if this action violates the terms of any exisiting employment contract or union agreement. Otherwise, you are an "at will" worker, so your company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. This includes who to suspend and for how long. Additionally, your employer is not legally obligated to inform you of the length of your suspension. If it should go on indefintely, then you may be eligible to collect unemployment benefits.


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