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I was suspended without pay from my job on 3/22. What are my…

I was suspended without...

I was suspended without pay from my job on 3/22. What are my rights? Where do I go from here?

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you discussed the suspension with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?

Yes w my manager and the division manager. I am going in to H.R. tomorrow. My manager called me in the afternoon of 3/22 to say they had situation reviewed by H.R. and he wants me suspended and transferred to another program within the company rather than terminated. What does this mean for my benefits?

Lawyer's Assistant: Are you an "at will" employee? Do you belong to a union?

No union (unfortunately).

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

We were using new software in my program for which we weren't properly trained. I was unable to get assistance and made an error w the siftware, which I reported immediately to my t re am leader. He threatened me w termination, even though he has no authority to do so. I was very upset and cried publicly.

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Answered in 4 minutes by:
3/25/2018
Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20,155
Experience: Employment/Labor Law Litigation
Verified

Thank you for trusting your question to JA today. I am a licensed attorney with over a decade of law practice and over 20 years of experience in the legal field. I’m happy to be of assistance. (The system will automatically generate a phone call request to you. Unless I specifically state, during our discussion, that a phone call is possible, I intend to just use this chat format as I am not in a position to accept a phone call).

Regrettably, in an at will employment situation without a union the employer can suspend employee's without pay from their job without cause. The employer can terminate without cause. The employer doesn't have to establish a legitimate basis for termination or suspension, because they legally do not need a reason at all.

In these situations, without a union, you'd have to consider two things to know if you had any recourse.

1. Does the employer have a handbook of policies that they published but failed to follow? In that case, you could seek local counsel to treat this as breach of an implied contract with the company employees (the handbook). Depending on how it is written, it can take on contractual aspects.

2. Do you have any evidence to suggest that the basis for your treatment was your race, religion, gender, age, disability or FMLA use? Then the treatment could be illegal discrimination. Without that illegal motivation though, the behavior you describe here is only unprofessional, not illegal.

If you have neither of the above to allege, your only other option is filing for unemployment due to lack of work, forcing the employer to make a decision on your employment so that you are at least out of limbo here.

If you have any further questions or other facts that you would like me to consider, please let me know. I invite follow up questions, so use REPLY for those. If you have no further questions then good luck going forward and please do not forget to rate my service with a three, a four or preferably a five star rating so that I receive credit for working with you today. Please rate me based on my service and not on your satisfaction with the law, which I am not in control of and I am just reporting to you. Please DON’T rate my service until after you have asked any follow up questions that you have, so that I have the best opportunity to earn all 5 stars. Also, feel free to request me in the future, if you have questions concerning a different matter.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I brought this up to my Manager and Division Manager, that the Team Leader is a former police officer who is a convicted sexual predator. He was fired from his precinct before joining my company. He verbally gunned for my female friend on our team, then announced my firing to the floor when I made my mistake, and told me he doesn't like another woman's attitude in my group and let me know he is gunning for her. I would never have let myself be placed in this group had I known of his criminal, predatory history. I questioned my team leader(female) lack of judgment for placing this person in power over an all-female team. Is any of this relevant to my case?

I am not making a phone call request, as noted in my first response, that is an automated request which I will not engage in.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
That is fine.

Now, in response to your next question, the convicted sexual predator issue is not helpful to you. Employers are allowed to hire convicted people if they want. The employer just takes on the liability risk if something happens.

The fact that that person clearly appears to have an issue with women could be though. It seems like gender discrimination and so you need to be more forceful with the employer in your allegation. You believe that this person treats women differently than men and you are alleging gender discrimination here. If the employer doesn't do something about it, you will be forced to file an EEOC complaint. (This is part of your allegation to the employer). Now, the employer may not respond favorably. In fact, they are likely not to, but you want to be on record giving the employer the chance to address the question before you go to the EEOC.

When the employer isn't helpful, contact the EEOC and make a complaint against the employer for tolerating discrimination. It is free and a protected activity, so you really have nothing to lose from taking that action.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Is filing for unemployment insurance the way to go when I am under unpaid suspension at work?

Yes, that was my initial recommendation but should be done in conjunction with the second post (based on your additional facts).

The point of filing unemployment based on lack of work is to force the employer to clarify your situation and to give you some potential income while you are not presently being paid. You don't have to do it, but there is no loss by doing so.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thank you Attorney Allen. I am going to H.R. Tomorrow with a backup plan thanks to you. If my company cannot place me in another program right away, I will tell them I am filing for unemployment insurance and going to report to EEOC. Also what does all this mean for my benefits?

I'm assuming you are referring to insurance benefits. but respond if that isn't what you are talking about here.

Your insurance would end if the employer decides you are terminated and you'd be offered COBRA. You'd have to pay out of pocket for that, but that could be included as damages in your EEOC complaint.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Wonderful! I have been concerned about retaining my insurance benefits.

You have to be offered COBRA insurance extension because you would not have been terminated based on gross misconduct, like theft or workplace violence.

Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20,155
Experience: Employment/Labor Law Litigation
Verified
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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20,155
20,155 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Employment/Labor Law Litigation

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