What rights do I have for knowing the reason I have been placed on paid administrative leave?

I work for a city government and I was placed on paid administrative leave by the HR director, with my department head present, on Feb 9th through Feb 12th. I was not given any reason, just that it wasn’t about me but rather it was to protect me, and that it was not disciplinary. On Feb 13th I received via FedEx a letter from HR extending my leave until further notice. To this date, I still have not been provided any further information as to the nature of this leave and/or my return to work. I have sent multiple questions to the HR director via email on Feb 18th and 19th inquiring about reasons, my return to work, etc. but have not yet received a response. While I have not, to my knowledge, violated any rules, regulations, policies or procedures of the City, I am growing more concerned each day about the protection of my position with the City as I have received little to no information about the basis of the situation and feel I need to know what my rights are and if I should retain a Labor and Employment lawyer at this time or wait until I receive information from HR.

Asked on February 22, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, an employer is not required to give you a reason for placing you on administrative leave--that is one of the many effects of employment being "employment at will": employers may terminate employees, or do anything short of termination, like placing on leave, at any time, for any reason, without providing an explanation.
The above could be modified if you have a written employment contract, are subject to a union collective bargaining agreement, and/or if your municipality has any civil service rules; if there any such agreement or rules, you have to review them to see if the affect the ability to put you on administrative leave or any information they must provide or process they must follow. But in the absence of such an agreement or rules, they do not need to tell you the reason.


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