What steps do I need to take next?

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What steps do I need to take next?

I have worked as a salaried exempt employee
for over 4 years with no disciplinary record.
Recently suspended due to what was
described as violating an honesty policy. When
asked about the incident I was truthful and did
not hide anything. I backed one of my direct
employees instead of immediately placing said
employee on notice as requested by my boss. I
did place employee on notice just not at the
time my boss asked. It was 1 week later. I was
suspended pending investigation due to
doubting my integrity. I was told they would
wrap the investigation up asap and contact me
but have had zero contact with my supervisor
or HR in 2 weeks. So here is where it’s tricky. I
fired an employee for violating company policy
which in turn broke federal law and HR brought
them back. I also suspended indefinitely and
recommended termination of an employee for
stealing money and HR brought them back.
Both parties are of different race and gender
than myself. I feel this could be discrimination if
in fact I am terminated. Does the company
have to notify me of how long I am suspended
or is it a waiting game. Obviously I am looking
for another job but being in limbo is stressful on
my family. What steps should I take or what
steps are available?

Asked on November 20, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It *may* be evidence of illegal racial or sex-based discrimination if you are terminated and the others were brought back, if there is no other valid explanation for why these other employees were treated differently. When an employee of one race, for example, is treated worse than an employee of another race and there is no obvious reason for the difference, that may create a presumption of discrimination; the company then, however, has the chance to show that this was not discrimation, by showing there is some valid, truthful (i.e. they can't just make it up, but need evidence) non-discriminatory reason for the difference, such as one employee having many more disciplinary write-ups or poorer performance, or less credentials and experience making him/her less valuable, etc. So what you describe could show discrimination and makes it likely worthwhile to contact the federal EEOC about it if you are terminated--just do not assume that it automatically proves discrimination.


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