Even though I didn’t participate in an incident, can my employer still suspend me?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Even though I didn’t participate in an incident, can my employer still suspend me?

About 2 weeks ago, I was out on deliveries with 2 other people. During deliveries, the 2 girls I was with violated a resident’s property and I witnessed what happened but didn’t get involved. The next day, the 2 girls were suspended and sent home but I was told to write down what happened. A week later, I was called into the office and they suspended me. I assured them that I didn’t do anything wrong but they sent me home and wouldn’t tell me when I had to come back. So basically it’s like they fired me, but why didn’t they suspend me the same week the incident happen? And why won’t they tell me for how long I’m suspended? Can I sue my manager for something like this?

Asked on October 12, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you could have been suspended (or even fired) for this reason, any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice. That is unless your treatment constitutes some form of legally actionable discrimination (which you did not indicate), or if this action violates the terms of any exisiting employment contract or union agreement. Otherwise, you are an "at will" worker, so your company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. This includes who to suspend and for how long. Additionally, your employer is not legally obligated to inform you of the length of your suspension. If it should go on indefintely, then you may be eligible to collect unemployment benefits.

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.

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