Under what conditions can an employee be suspended?

My boyfriend was suspended from his job until further notice today after another employee who was recently fired threatened a lawsuit against the company. The company’s reasoning behind suspending my boyfriend is that after being fired, the other employee stated that he was also suing for pain and suffering because supposedly my boyfriend was calling and sending text messages mocking him about being fired. My boyfriend has printouts of his calls and text messages from his mobile provider proving that this to be false. Does his job have grounds to suspend him?

Asked on July 23, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, California


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that most employers can set the terms and conditions of the workplace as it sees fit. This includes who and why to suspend someone. An employee can be suspended (or terminated) for this reason, any reason or no reason at all. That's because most employment relationships are "at will". This means that an employer can suspend (or fire) someone when it chooses and an employee can quit when they choose.

Exceptions to the above would be if an employee's treatment was based on some form of actionable discrimination or if the employer's actions violated the terms of an employment contract, union agreement, company policy or the like.

Bottom line, your boyfriend's employer was within its rights to suspend him.

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