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CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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My son is a new attorney in a small law firm in nd. s

Customer Question

my son is a new attorney in a small law firm in nd. His employer put him on 2 week suspension used up his vacation time then put him on indefinite unpaid leave all for an incident that happened outside of work. He feels trapped doesn't know if this is legal and doesn't know what to do.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

Thank you for using the forum. My name is ***** ***** I hope to assist you today.
I am sorry to learn that your son is facing this situation.

Placing an employee on a defined suspension (ex. 2 weeks) while the employee is paid their vacation pay, is not uncommon prior to an indefinite suspension while the employer is determining a final course of action (termination vs. any further discipline).

I understand from your post that your son is facing disciplinary proceedings with his employer due to out of office conduct, but his profession is one that relies on moral/ethical conduct and judgment, and his employer has a right to make an employment decision based on mistakes that may not occur during work hours (the most common issue we see is employees who have a DUI or similar transgression outside of work).

Employees are protected against certain types of hiring/firing/disciplinary actions (for example, an employee cannot be disciplined because they are black, female, 60 years old, or gay). But for the most part, employment is "at will" and an employer can dismiss or discipline an employee for failing to perform at work, or for appearing to show impaired judgment (especially with a job such as an attorney), or for causing negative public relations for the employer (again, especially true with professionals such as attorneys).

But, if your son believes that he is being unfairly discriminated against, I would recommend that he speak to an employment law attorney (I understand he is an attorney himself, but speaking with a local specialist can help him get a different perspective and perhaps help him get around his current feeling of being "trapped").