How long can an employer send you home without pay?

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How long can an employer send you home without pay?

I was out for about a week and a half with the flu. I called out everyday and messaged my supervisor exactly what was going on. When I finally was well enough to be back at work they told me to go home till they determined my status. I had not used all my points and I had communicated the whole time I was out. However, now I have been home without pay or without them telling me I’m fired for a month. Is this legal?

Asked on April 21, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unless otherwise mandated under the terms of a union agreement or employment contract, a company can simply stop scheduling a worker without first providing them notice of heir termination. The fact is that in an "at will" work relationship, an employee can be discharged for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice. So unless your treatment consituted some form of actionable discrimination, you treatment was perfectly permissable under the law. That having been said, since it's been a month and you have not been re-scheduled for hours to work, you can claim "constuctive discharge" and apply for unemployment benefits (assuming you are in all other ways eligible).

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, this is legal; your employer does not have to formally fire you, but can simply stop scheduling you for work--the law does not require notice of termination of employment. Under the circumstances, you can likely consider yourself to have been "constructively" (or effectively) fired and apply for unemployment benefits (assuming you are otherwise eligible).


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