Under 29 CFR sec. 541.602(b)(4) Deductions from pay of exempt employees may be made for penalties imposed in good faith for infractions of safety rules of major significance. Safety rules of major significance include those relating to the prevention of serious danger in the workplace or to other employees, such as rules prohibiting smoking in explosive plants, oil refineries and coal mines.
(5) Deductions from pay of exempt employees may be made for unpaid disciplinary suspensions of one or more full days imposed in good faith for infractions of workplace conduct rules. Such suspensions must be imposed pursuant to a written policy applicable to all employees. Thus, for example, an employer may suspend an exempt employee without pay for three days for violating a generally applicable written policy prohibiting sexual harassment. Similarly, an employer may suspend an exempt employee without pay for twelve days for violating a generally applicable written policy prohibiting workplace violence.
Other than the above-described suspensions, a salaried exempt employee who is suspended without pay, becomes an hourly employee and is entitled to overtime.
That is, you can be suspended, but the employer will have to treat you as an hourly employee going forward, and you may be able to recover overtime for prior work hours, based upon the employer's clear intent to treat you as an hourly employee.
You can complain to the West Virgina Division of Labor.
Hope this helps.
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Sorry for any miscommunication. I thought I was clear.
Being suspended without pay as an "exempt" employee for calling in sick is not a legitimate rationale under federal law. Your protection is that if you complain about it to the government, your employer may be requred to pay you for the time of your suspension, and possibly back as far as the past two years for any overtime that you worked.
And, if you are terminated in retaliation, you can sue the employer for wrongful termination.
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