How long can a job suspend someone without letting them know when they can come back to work?

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How long can a job suspend someone without letting them know when they can come back to work?

I’ve been suspended until further notice. It’s been a month now and no call back from my job with an answer when I can come back. My union isn’t helping. What can I do?

Asked on November 21, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Hawaii

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First of all, do you have an employment contract or union agreement that covers the length of a suspension? Is there a provision regarding this type of situation in the company handbook or other policy statement? If not, then as an "at will" employee, short of actionable discrimination, your employer has a great deal of discretion in determining the terms and conditions of the workplace. The fact of the matter is that there is no hard and fast rule on how long an employee may be suspended for.

That having been said, after a certain point in time, if you have been suspended without pay (you did not indicate) for a long enough period, it may constitute what is called "constructive termination" and allow you to start collecting unemployment benefits because, in essence, you have been effectively been terminated.

At this point you may want to contact your state's department of labor or consult with an employment law attorney for further information.


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