If I was put on suspension without pay “pending an investigation”, how long can they leave me on suspension pending their “investigation?

I work in a call center and was told I wasn’t following procedures for rude clients. They also stated they had an anonymous caller who stated they saw a post from me stating to call up and complain to get me fired on a personal facebook page. This is not true and was posted by a friend and I replied no thank you, and the calls are monitored. My company has a policy which states FB is my personal property and not subject to company appraisal. I don’t think I should have to be suspended without pay due to a malicious phone call that slandered me. I haven’t even had any written warnings about anything.

Asked on June 27, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you do not have an employment contract, you are an employee at will and could be terminated at any time, for any reason, without warning or prior notice--including for a "malicious phone call which slandered you." (That is, your employer does not need a good reason or to prove anything to fire you.) Since it could fire you at will, it may also suspend you at will, for any length of time it chooses.

Note the following:

1) If you have an employment contract, it is enforceable, so review it to see if it protects you in this case.

2) If you are suspended indefinitely with no idea of whether or when you will be reinstated, you may be able to collect unemployment under the theory you were "constructively"--or effectively--terminated. There is no hard and fast rule about how long that would be, however.


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