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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I was informed today, saturday, that I am suspended the following day due to patient compl

Customer Question

I was informed today, saturday, that I am suspended the following day due to patient complaint without anybody expaining beforehand the nature of the issue. Not even my manager and I got the notice directly from the director via phone call. I feel it's not fair. Is the employer following the appropriate process? She also informed me that this is a paid suspension but I feel still that this is punitive, paid or not paid, am I correct, please advise.

Jennifer, RN
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 5 years ago.

Thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I'm so sorry to hear about your suspension, and I must agree that the basis for it sounds unfair.

Unfortunately, however, California law permits an employer to discipline employees for any reason, even without adequate justification, provided the employer does not violate the basic rules governing minimum wage, overtime, meal periods and paid lunch breaks.

This tremendous freedom stems from Labor Code section 2922, which provides that employment in the state of California is "at will," absent an agreement to the contrary. Courts have interpreted this to mean that, since an employer retains discretion to terminate employees for no reason, he or she also retains the authority to dictate the terms of employment and/or institute discipline at any time.

Thus, while it does appear unfair that you have been put on administrative based on the facts described, no legal cause of action would typically arise as a result.

I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the best.

My greatest concern is that you are satisfied with the answer I provide, so please do not hesitate to contact me with follow-up questions. Although I cannot always provide good news, I hope that my answer gives you a better understanding of the law and your rights so that you can obtain the best possible result under the circumstances. Also, please bear in mind that experts are not credited for unaccepted answers, so I greatly appreciate you taking the time to "accept" my answer and leave positive feedback.

Finally, none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.
Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Is it really legal to serve suspension without me knowing the natuer of issue?.
It's like serving the jail without due process. I this they should have explained it to me before giving the decision.

Honestly, I am not worried about the patient complaint because I know I am doing my job diligently. It's more on the wrong process on giving this punishment.

Thanks for your help.

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
I completely understand your frustration here. Very often an employer will keep the source of allegations against an employee confidential.

While an employee is not generally entitled to know the basis of allegations against them, any employee can request a copy of their personnel file, which may contain information relating to those claims. (See Labor Code Section 1198.5) Inspections must be allowed at reasonable times and intervals. To facilitate the inspection, employers must do one of the following: (1) keep a copy of each employee’s personnel records at the place where the employee reports to work, (2) make the personnel records available at the place where the employee reports to work within a reasonable amount of time following the employee’s request, or (3) permit the employee to inspect the records at the location where they are stored with no loss of compensation to the employee.

It may be wise for an employee in your circumstance to request to view their personnnel file and to submit a written rebuttal to any negative reports contained within their file so that their employer is apprised of the truth.

I wish you the very best in reoslving this matter and I thank you very much for your "accept."
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I think I need more detailed info to prove that the process was indeed inappropriate and legal..

Thanks very much and good bye.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Youre very welcome. Good luck.

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