Can my employer suspend me for insubordination for threatening to sue?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can my employer suspend me for insubordination for threatening to sue?

My employer and I got into a disagreement about his methods for creating a schedule each week. He made everyone sign a contract agreeing to be “on call” every day so that he may take disciplinary action against those who cannot cover a shift. When he presented me with the contract I agreed to sign in order to keep my job but I also expressed that I didn’t think this was fair. He indignantly suggested I sue him. When I said “I’m not going to sue you. Unless you fire me for no reason. Then I might sue.” He then suspended me for “insubordination” because he reasoned that I had threatened his business.

Asked on April 24, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes, your employer may suspend--or even fire--you for this, as long as you did not have an employment contract which guaranteed or protected your employment, or specified some disciplinary process which had to have been followed. The law does not require employers to employee people who threatent to sue the employer; the "whistleblower" protection is limited to protecting employees who raise concerns about safety regulations or violations of the law, including violations of the wage and hour or employment discrimination laws. However, you are not raising a specific protected complaint--you were saying that if fired "for no reason," you might sue. Since your employer in fact has the right to fire you for "no reason" if you don't have an employment contract--in the absence of a contract, for example, an employer may terminate an employee simply because the employer wanted to--you were potentially threatening to sue the employer if it did something it had a legal right to do. There is no legal protection for you for doing that, and so the employer could suspend you.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption