If I was suspended from work without a reason, documentation,how long I would be out, or if it was without pay, is this legal?

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If I was suspended from work without a reason, documentation,how long I would be out, or if it was without pay, is this legal?

have been an exemplary employee at my work for 7 years per employee reviews. I have a new boss as of 1 year and communication has been bad and no support with needed management issues. I am a manager. I’ve experienced harassment at work and a work place violence issue with another employee that I brought to his attention and nothing was done. This past week I experienced one more instance where he had undermined me and made a change in my department that effects the productivity of my department. I informed him via email that maybe my title isn’t needed and I’d like to have it removed. He suspended me from work the next day stating “he needed to figure out what to do”. Is this legal?

Asked on December 9, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, if you do not have an employment contract which protects or guaranties your employment in some fashion, or at least sets out some process which must be followed for discipline, this is legal. Without a contract, you are an "employee at will"; an employee at will may be terminated at any time, for any reason, without notice. The best employee can be fired on the spot, for example, just because his/her supervisor had a bad day and wants to take it out on someone. Since an employee at will may be fired at any time, for any reason, steps "short of" firing--like suspension--may also be taken at will.

The exceptions would be if your suspension was because of discrimination against your race, sex, religion, age over 40, or disabiltiy status; or as retaliation for having brought a discrimination claim or other protected claim, such as for overtime or FMLA leave. In those instances, you may not be suspended; but otherwise, it would seem that you may be.


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