If I was placed on paid administrative leave without any background or detailed information as to why, is this legal?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If I was placed on paid administrative leave without any background or detailed information as to why, is this legal?

I am an HR generalist for a school district who was transferred to the HR department without requesting the transfer; this was about 9 months ago. Upon this transfer, the HR director and other department personnel were very disgruntled with my placement to the point that it became it hostile work environment. I became depressed and anxious and had to be enrolled in a full day treatment program due to my work environment. Upon returning back to work, while I was out on FMLA and my job was secure for the year, my HR Director called me into his office to inform me the he was not happy with the way his department was running ie low moral and unhappiness with fellow employees. He said that I wasn’t a good fit and that he felt that he was not going to renew my contract the following year. I would be out of a job that I had been with for 11 years. I have had to deal with harassing attitudes, being excluded from meeting and information that would make my job easier and now I have been placed on a paid administrative leave which my HR Director will not disclose the nature as to why this is. He only said it was not of a sexual harassment or vulgar nature. Of course it would not be, that is not who I am. I am a single mother of 2 who is going through a divorce and is dealing with depression and anxiety when I never had these issues prior to coming into his department. I am the only minority there and now on administrative leave without a reason as to why. Somehow this does not seem legal. He will call me when he has gathered all his information and call me back into his office and present what he finds and then he will give me 24 hours to write a statement. I think that he school district is getting ready to let me go but again I am not sure why. I need legal representation.

Asked on January 30, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If your employment is covered by a written employment (including union) agreement, you have whatever rights--and only those rights--that the agreement gives you. Review the agreement (and/or speak with a union representative, if applicable) to understand your rights.
If your job is covered by a civil service system like many (but certainly not all) government jobs, you have whatever rights that system gives you.
However, if you don't have contractual or civil service protection, then you are, as you seem to know, an employee at will, and could be transferred, suspended (with or without pay), demoted, or even terminated at any time, for any reason, and the employer would not be required to provide you with the evidence or reason(s) for their actions.

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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