What are an employee’s rights regarding an unpaid suspension?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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What are an employee’s rights regarding an unpaid suspension?

I work on signal lights for the state. Last week a co-worker and I were working in one of our signal control cabinets and after we were finished working on the cabinet we closed the door. The next day the local police called our dispatcher and stated that the cabinet door at the same location was open. So someone on call had to go out and close that same signal cabinet door. My co-worker and I are accused of leaving the signal control cabinet door open. And now we had to be written up for not closing the door. We face getting time off without pay for 4 days or more. When we left that location we closed the door. Is it legal for my employer to do this. Even with no photos or eye witness?

Asked on September 12, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Louisiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

The only real issue is whether you have a written employment contract, including a union or collective bargaining contract covering your position, which limits or defines discipine if you do, then the employer can only discipine you in accordance with the contract's terms. 
However, if you don't have a contract, you are an employee at will, and an employee at will may be disciplined, written up, suspended, demoted, or even terminated at any time, for any reason, including an allegation taht you left a signal cabinet door open, and even if there is no corrobarating evidence e.g. no photos or eyewitness testimony.

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