What are my rights as a non-profit employee about a suspension without pay regarding a personal, not business, matter?

I work at a dance studio and outside of the job, I watched one of the owner’s twins. Then we had an argument about my pay so she suspended me from the studio with out pay and this situation has nothing to do with the studio. What can I do?

Asked on December 9, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that most employment is what is known as "at will". This means that a company can set the terms and conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit. This is true of either a for-profit or non-profit company. therefore, while such an action is seemingly unfair, it is legal. That is so long as it did not violate company policy, a union agreement or employment contract (and you did not indicate that to be the case). Aslo, it muct not have been based on any form of actionable discrimination or retaliation (and it does not appear that it was). 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It doesn't matter whether this was a non-profit or a for-profit company; if you did not have a written employment contract, you were an employee at will, and an employee at will may be suspended (or demoted, pay cut, hours reduced, or even terminated, etc.) at any time, for any reason--including a personal, not business, issue with his/her employer. Unfortunately what you describe appears to be fully legal.

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