If I was wrongfully suspended from work without pay, should I been reimbursed for my lost income?

UPDATED: May 31, 2011

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If I was wrongfully suspended from work without pay, should I been reimbursed for my lost income?

I was suspended from work for 2 weeks from a cold storage business for supposedly taking a pallet inside the freezer without being lotted. The supervisor and dock foreman got fired for hiding that pallet once it was inside the freezer. I wasn’t aware that they were doing this. Those men got fired; I was called back to work after 2 weeks and 2 days/ It’s been 13 month since it all happened. Do they have to pay me for the loss income for that time? I’ve been taking to my union representative about this but he hasn’t done anything.

Asked on May 31, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You say that you have a union representative, which means that there should be a union or collective bargaining agreement in place, governing your job or position. If that's the case, you have to look to that agreement, to what it says about discipline, suspension, etc., to see what the answer is. That's because in the absence of an employment contract, including a union agreement, employees are employees at will. An employee at will can be suspended--or fired, demoted, transferred, pay reduced, etc.--at any time, for any reason (other than a *very* few illegal reasons, like illegal racial or sex-based discrimination). This includes being suspended, etc. without any good reason or even mistakenly--that is, unfortunately, legal under the law. So the law generally doesn't protect you in this case; you need to see what your union agreement says.

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