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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 11868
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Oklahoma. I have been told to stay home and not come to work

Customer Question

Hi Pearl,
JA: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Oklahoma. I have been told to stay home and not come to work until my supervisor returns to work. I have not been given any clear disciplinary sanctions. How long can they do this?
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: No
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I am actually the last staff member left in the HR department and the other staff member was recently terminated under awkward circumstances. Also, I had a Dr note for the week of Nov 5th and was told I had to go in and train for my job that same week. Then after that, is when I was told not to return until I was contacted.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 4 months ago.

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.

Unfortunately, there is actually no limit for how long an employer can suspend an employee, nor is there any requirement that they communicate the reason for the suspension or its expected duration. This freedom stems from the fact that employment in the state of Oklahoma is "at will" absent an express agreement to the contrary. At will employment can be terminated for any reason not amounting to discrimination on the basis of a legally protected trait (race, religion, gender, etc.) or retaliation for engaging in certain forms of legally protected conduct (filing a wage claim, taking FMLA leave, etc.). It doesn't matter whether the basis for termination is fair, reasonable or even true.

So, since an employee could simply be terminated altogether with no reason or cause, the law imposes no great restrictions on lesser forms of discipline, such as suspensions. Regrettably, all you can do is continue waiting it out and continue politely inquiring as to the status of the suspension.

I hope that you find this information helpful and am genuinely sorry if it is not what you were hoping to hear. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Thank you Patrick. They never actually suspended me. Never communicated that to me. And even before I was told to stay home, they suspended my email access. Is all of this still allowable?
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Also, is it legal for them to make me work when I have a doctor note telling me not to?
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 4 months ago.

"They never actually suspended me. Never communicated that to me. And even before I was told to stay home, they suspended my email access. Is all of this still allowable? "

It's unfair and upsetting but unfortunately none of what you describe violates any law.

"Also, is it legal for them to make me work when I have a doctor note telling me not to?"

If the doctor's note related to a medical disability and if your employer has 15 or more employees, they would have to "reasonably accommodate" you by allowing you time off. They could not "force" you to work, although unless they are physically dragging you into work they are not "forcing" you, they are just putting pressure on you to work, which is not really the same thing. You would have to REFUSE to come into work, get fired, and then allege in court that your employer could have reasonably accommodate your disability-related absence in order to have a legal claim.

I hope this helps. Again if there is anything more I can do for you just let me know. It's my pleasure....

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 4 months ago.

Are you still with me?