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Ask Legalease Your Own Question
Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 16379
Experience:  13 years experience in employment law, unions, contracts, workers comp law
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I work City of Wilmington Parks & Recreation Department

Customer Question

I work for the City of Wilmington Parks & Recreation Department as my primary employer. I do fugitive skip tracing for a Bail Bonds Agency while not on duty as an city employee. I am part time at both employers. I was just suspended w/o pay because I was instrumental in the arrest of two wanted fugitives wanted on felony states in multiple states.
Are employers permitted to penalize personnel for matters off-duty conduct at another employer? Especially when he/she has a personal connection to the wanted offenders and should be impartial in the whole matter?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Legalease replied 1 year ago.
Hello there ---Can you tell me if this was the official reason for the suspension? Did they actually write it up in this manner? If not, do you know what they wrote as the grounds for your suspension? -MARY
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The Executive Director stated that he wanted to pause for concern. No official write-up, no official documentation. He just stated "that I would like for you to not report to work for a while until further notice or if I say otherwise!"
Expert:  Legalease replied 1 year ago.
Hello again ---Unless you have a written contract with the department or you are a union employee (where the union has a contract with the department) then you are an employee at will and you can be terminated for any reason or no reason whatsoever at the discretion or whim of the employer. However, if the employer cannot come up with a valid reason for termination then you can generally apply for and collect benefits (the law requires that the employer give a valid reason for termination to deny unemployment benefits). Generally speaking, a wrongful termination lawsuit only survives if the employer has discriminated against you based upon your race, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion or disability. -So, in your situation while you might have some type of legal action available for this situation if the employer does not have a policy against working for another employer, you will have to prove that the true reason for the suspension is because of your work for the bail bonds company and there is a real possibility that the department might cover it up and give other reasons why you were suspended ("trumped up"). My suggestion here is that you apply for unemployment benefits to see if you qualify and if the department objects and states that you are suspended or terminated, then you ask for a hearing on the matter to try to show at the hearing that the real reason you were terminated is due to the actions that you took in law enforcement at your other job. If you are approved for benefits, then you have just strengthened a case for wrongful termination against the Department. At that point, you will most likely be able to get a lawyer to take the case without putting a lot of money down (generally, employment lawyers charge by the hour and it gets expensive for the claimant but if you can put together a strong case where it is clear what the true reason for the termination is, then you will have better luck finding an attorney to take it on). -I hope that helps even if it was not completely what you would have liked to hear. Please let me know if you have further questions. If not, can you please press a positive rating above this chat session so I will be paid for my time? I am paid nothing unless you press a positive rating above (a positive rating is pressing the middle star or the fourth or fifth star on the right side of the middle star). THANK YOU VERY MUCH-MARY