Legalities around suspension and termination and effect on unemployment?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Legalities around suspension and termination and effect on unemployment?

My daughter was suspended as manager of a pet food store. She was told that she had to call in 3 days to find out why. When she called in she was informed that the district manager was upset that she had reorganized a display that he had set up. However, then they went on to say that they did not feel she was healthy enough to manage this store and she had 2 options – either take a leave of absence or accept a demotion. Keep in mind any absences where she was requested to have a doctor’s note, she complied and has never been written up. Additionally, as manager she has witnessed numerous times where they suspend employees but do not fire them. Instead they never have contact with them saying they will not pay unemployment because they still have a job.

Asked on May 30, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If she did not have an employment contract guarantying or protecting her employment, she was an employee at will and could be terminated at any time, for essentially any reason--or suspended instead of being terminated. 
A company can NOT however just "suspend" employees forever to avoid paying unemployment: an open-ended, indefinite suspension is equivalent to termination. Your daughter should file for unemployment; let the employer prove they are bringing her back to work if they want to avoid her getting unemployment.

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