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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 15648
Experience:  Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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I have been placed on administrative leave. Should I hire a

Customer Question

I have been placed on administrative leave. Should I hire a lawyer?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 4 years ago.
I'm going to need quite a bit more information.

Do you work for the state or a private company?

Do you have an employment contract that states that you can only be terminated "for cause?"

Does your employer have a policy concerning administrative leave and what it means?

What is the basis for your being placed on administrative leave?

Do you suspect discrimination based on race, religion, gender, age, disabilty, FMLA use or worker's comp use?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
private University
I was not aware of such a policy, I am still trying to find out what it means.
where are you located?
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 4 years ago.
I'm located in Nebraska.

We don't offer legal representation here. We answer questions. So, if you are looking for an attorney to represent you here, I can only recommend attorney search engines.

If you have legal questions concerning the legal process that you are currently going through, I can answer those questions.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
i understand, the reason were some rumors that were spread in my work place by other people around me. I informed my supervisor regarding this issues in the past have not heard anything from him but I was advised not to speak with anybody around me about anything, limit my interactions only to work related issues. Followed the advice and of course I will be a different person for people around me but as advice I cannot say anything why. People might have became concerned there might be something wrong with me. My supervisor never asked me anything abou what is going on with me. Yesterday I was told he conducted an 'investigation', asked people questions, without me knowing about that, and decided I might be a 'risk for myself or other people around me' so I am placed on administrative leave with pay without even beeing asked what is going on. I was gone to some meetings outside the country with people from work so they saw me outside of my work place and I acted as a normal person I think when I was with them. He never asked them so it seems to me he asked whoever he wanted to get the info used to make the decision. It was his decision to place me on leave and I acted very reserved in the past 5 moth because he adviced me to do it. On top of that during the meeting yesterday he verbally promissed he will tell people around that my absence is a 'private matter' but he already disclosed that I am in an administrative leave to 3 other members of our group through an email. Any advice?
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 4 years ago.
I'm very sorry about your situation. I have to explain somethings to you first, so that you get a better impression of your situation.

California recognizes the concept of "at will" employment. That means that without an employment contract that states that you can only be terminated "for cause" you can technically be terminated for any reason or no reason at all (other than race, religion, gender, age, disability, FMLA use or worker's comp use.

Logically, it follows that if you can be terminated in such a fashion, you can also be placed on administrative leave for the same reasons.

What that means for you is that there is no external law that dictates how the employer should act here. But there is something else that may help and that is the employer's own policies. An employer must follow its policies equally and fairly if it has bothered to have them.

So, what matters for you is the wording of the school's policies and procedures on suspensions/terminations. You need to obtain that policy and ensure that the school follows it by the letter. If they do not, then they are in violation of that "quasi-contractual obligation." You would be able to sue them in court for violation of their "agreement" with the employees.

So, do you need an attorney right now? I'm never one to discourage seeking counsel, but there is not much that can be done at this point. If the school decides to fire you, the attorney can't make that stop. The attorney can only sue after the fact. Perhaps bringing an attorney in now might unnecessarily inflame the situation. At the same time, it might make the employer come to its senses.

This is a personal choice, with positives and negatives for either choice.

If you are going to get an attorney, you want an employment law plaintiff's attorney. Call the California state bar to get a recommendation or go to www.martindale.com and do a search. Look for attorneys that are rated CV or BV.


Edited by Jagcorps_esq on 12/6/2009 at 8:34 PM EST
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
is theis the policy you were refering to regarding the cause?
'It is the policy of the University that employees are expected to carry out their assigned tasks and responsibilities as instructed and to conduct themselves in accordance with reasonable rules and expectations for the work place. Corrective action is taken when such is not the case. Disciplinary action, including discharge, is taken only for cause. University policy does not require that discipline be taken in any formal steps or order and recognizes that the determination of appropriate discipline will depend upon the facts and circumstances of the particular situation.'

'Discharge — Attempts to correct problems may not always yield the desired results. In cases where such attempts fail to produce the necessary corrections, or in cases of gross misconduct, it may be necessary to consider discharge for just cause.'

what does this 'cause' mean and how does this make a diference in a case like mine?
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Yes, that is a policy that establishes that cause must be present for termination. It provides you more protection in your job than most people have (I'd say less than 5% of employees have a job that they can only lose for "cause").

If cause must be present then you can dispute their cause as unreasonable in court.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
since I have this 'cause' present in the policy should I hire a lawyer now or wait and see what happends. If it would be you in my possition what would you do? thanks
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 4 years ago.
I would wait to see what happens. Again, even with an attorney now and that clause in your policies, the attorney can't stop what the employer is going to do. Such remedies have to come after the fact, meaning that you wait to see what they do and then sue to be made whole.

While an attorney now might be able to talk them into their senses (this is actually rather rare), it is more likely that your hiring an attorney to talk to them would freeze discussion entirely.

That being said, I wouldn't give it too much time. If they leave you on leave for too long (a month, for instance), you need to press them about getting to speak on your own behalf (if they will let you). An attorney "might" be useful for that.

If you are terminated THEN I know an attorney would be the appropriate step.

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