Can you suspend someone without pay for telling HR about a physical threat?

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Can you suspend someone without pay for telling HR about a physical threat?

I work in a weld shop and I’ve been the only female welder there since the

company has started which was roughly 20 years ago. I’ve worked here for over a year and this guy started 3 months ago. He comes over to my area and harasses me about my welds and how I don’t deserve this job. Well it came to the point where he made a physical threat and I reported it to HR. They started their investigation and asked him about what he had said and he told them I made these vulgar sexual slurs towards him they sent me home on suspension without pay. He also had other employees harass me, including his brother that works there.

Asked on August 15, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

They are not suspending you--at least "on paper"--because you reported a threat; they are suspending you because he claimed you sexually harassed him. The issue is, whether his evidence is credible; and also whether there is reason to believe that you are being discriminated against (e.g. not believed and punished) because you are the only female. That would be illegal; an employer may not favor one employee or disfavor another because of their sex. Based on what you write, the employer may well be believing him and taking his side because he is male and you are female and, if so, that is against the law. You may wish to contact the federal EEOC, which enforces anti-discrimination laws, to file a complaint.


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