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Brandon, Esq.
Brandon, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 1824
Experience:  Has received a certificate of recognition from the California State Senate for his outstanding legal service.
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I am a non-exempt employee that has been put on unpaid suspension

Customer Question

I am a non-exempt employee that has been put on unpaid suspension since 7 Aug 13, I was told an outcome would come soon but no word. I belong to IAM 776 as a Union, yet heard nothing. I had no Union representation at a meeting that was held with the HR rep, but was offered after 15 minutes in his office. The Union representation is lame at best where I work since the main Union and workplace is in Fort Worth TX. not California.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Brandon, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Employment-LawExpert :

Hello and thank you for your question today.

Employment-LawExpert :

Are you online with me?

Employment-LawExpert :

First, let me say that I am terribly sorry to hear that. It is a shame when a union decides not to properly represent their members. The best option is to contact your union steward to see what the status of your case is. They should be able to give you an update. If you feel that the union is not properly representing you in this matter, you would be able to file a claim with the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board). The NLRB is an independent federal agency vested with the power to make sure that your union rights are properly represented. If you believe that your union is not doing their job, you can file charges alleging unfair labor practices at the nearest NRLB regional office.

Employment-LawExpert :

The nearest office to you can be found here:

Employment-LawExpert :

http://www.nlrb.gov/who-we-are/regional-offices

Employment-LawExpert :

Welcome to the chat

Employment-LawExpert :

You also have the option of getting an employment attorney involved, but depending on the reason for your suspension, and why you are alleging it is unfair, that may do more harm than good as you may loose certain union rights once you procure an attorney. However, if you decide to hire an attorney a great resource is www.Martindale.com. This is a nationwide directory that is useful in finding highly qualified legal specialists in various fields of law. The lawyers in Martindale are not selected because they paid to be included, but rather because they have been rated by other attorneys as qualified experts in their field. Consider consulting with two or three different attorneys willing to take your case prior to selecting the one you feel most comfortable with.

Employment-LawExpert :

Are you alleging that the suspension is against the law due to a breach of the collective bargaining agreement? Or are there other reasons you believe that have led to the suspension?

Customer:

I am being accused of harassment by a female employee on the former shift

Customer:

This is a government contract, and my clearance is involved

Employment-LawExpert :

So likely, the union procedure is to grant you a proper right to due process (it is established in the collective bargaining agreement). This gives you the right to tell your side of the story and be heard and share any witnesses that may support what did or did not occur. You can provide any evidence you feel is necessary to clear your name.

Employment-LawExpert :

Additionally, there is likely an appeals process that is set up through the agreement in the case of termination.

Employment-LawExpert :

At the moment, you can contact the employer, or the union steward and inquire as to the status of the claim. Are you an hourly employee or an exempt salaried employee?

Employment-LawExpert :

Because any unpaid suspension can be viewed as a temporary removal, and you would be able to avail yourself of all of the laws that go with that

Customer:

My problem is they consider, do consider an off-site location. Prob why I have heard nothing. . I was an hourly employee. the steward at my site was nothing but a straw man. My prob is finances too. I am in Limbo here.

Customer:

I have heard of the Section 203 laws in California. In regards XXXXX XXXXX and status, I just do not no how to go forward

Employment-LawExpert :

So Section 203 basically states that you will be entitled to a waiting time penalty from the start of your suspension if you are owed any benefits (including earned but unused vacation or PTO time) It is calculated based on the day that you last performed any work, not on the day they decide to terminate you.

Customer:

I have heard nothing from the Union at all

Employment-LawExpert :

When did you last contact your employer or the union?

Customer:

they contacted me today to collect a couple of badges, but they did not tell me of employment status

Employment-LawExpert :

If you think there is some truth to the allegation, and you may be terminated, then you would want to file for unemployment and claim, quite rightly, that you were terminated without cause. You would not be able to sue for wrongful termination, but you would be able to receive benefits. You would also be able to make an unpaid wage claim against the company for all days any of those benefits were not paid.

Employment-LawExpert :

If there is no truth to the allegation, then the best approach here may be to try to set up a meeting with your supervisor and explain in a calm and positive manner that you really like your job, really like working there, and that there is no truth to the allegation and wonder when you can come back to work.

Employment-LawExpert :

If you call your union and they fail to talk to you, then you definitely would want to contact the NLRB

Employment-LawExpert :

Does that make sense?

Customer:

Yes kind of. Can I file for unemployment legally now?

Employment-LawExpert :

Technically yes. An employer cannot put you on a permanent unpaid suspension. However, if you want to prevail, you will want to try to get something stating what the progress is to date.

Employment-LawExpert :

Unpaid suspensions constitute a separation from work, a condition of unemployment.

Customer:

So I am in Limbo pretty much yes lol

Customer:

And have to seek unemployment through a an administrative court through the department of unemployment ca

Employment-LawExpert :

Not being in the situation directly, I cannot tell you for sure what the status is. All I can tell you are what your legal options are at this point. 1) find out from the union steward or employer what the status of your employment is, 2) File for unemployment, 3) File a claim for wrongful termination based on a breach of some provision of the employment agreement of the union

Customer:

Well, the NLRB post was good. who do I file claim for wrongful termination with?

Employment-LawExpert :

You would file a claim here:

Employment-LawExpert :

http://www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment/filing_a_claim.htm

Employment-LawExpert :

I realize that the law is not entirely in your favor here and I am truly sorry to have to deliver bad news. Nonetheless, I trust that you will appreciate an accurate explanation of the law and realize that it would be unprofessional of me and unfair to you to provide you with anything less.

Customer:

yes, I realize that, your direction is to go to edd in California correct?

Employment-LawExpert :

If you think that there is truth to the allegation, then you would go to the EDD, and you would make an unpaid wage claim here for any unpaid PTO as well as the waiting time penalties involved.

Employment-LawExpert :

That can be done here:

Employment-LawExpert :

http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/howtofilewageclaim.htm

Employment-LawExpert :

If there is no truth to the allegation then I would contact the union and the employer to see what the status of your situation is

Customer:

ok, thank you for assistance . you have done job. and it doesn't matter. its a female worker. And I have no money to pursue.

Brandon, Esq., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 1824
Experience: Has received a certificate of recognition from the California State Senate for his outstanding legal service.
Brandon, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

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