California Employment Law
Have California Employment Law Questions? Ask a Lawyer.
I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.
Do you have a contract with the employer that says anything about termination only being for cause or how long they have to investigate allegations against employees?
I'm sorry that they're doing this.
There isn't a specific law regarding how long an employer can put an employee on paid leave. There would have to be a contract before the leave become illegal. You may want to talk to your union representative to see what they can do to help you.
It's illegal for an employer to take negative action against an employee for raising concerns about legal violations. It's illegal for them to make you clock out for breaks you're not getting. And for any break of less than 20 minutes, they can't make you clock out in the first place. Employers who give short breaks must pay employees for them. It's possible this is part of what they're investigating.
When an employer takes illegal action against an employee, the law allows the employee to claim attorneys' fees in any successful lawsuit. For that reason, it might be worth contacting a local attorney to reach out to them on your behalf and begin arrangements for you to return to work. The other option is to report them to the Department of Labor for wage and overtime violations - but that won't necessarily get your job back.
If other, younger employees who have been placed on leave haven't been left there for 3 weeks, or if you see them treating you differently than employees under 40, you may also have an age discrimination claim against them.
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