After an unsuccessful EEOC mediation and the filing of a class action lawsuit, the employee began receiving anonymous harassing, stalking, and threatening texts via his personal mobile phone from a number belonging to a company phone. The employee aka victim complained to his supervisors to no immediate avail; after a nearly a week, the case is finally escalated to HR. HR takes OVER a month to reply to the employee regarding the status of the complaint—HR still has done nothing to investigate. Now, the employee is falsely accused of gross misconduct (allegedly ran over a customer and clocked him in the head); the employee has provided dash cam footage to prove otherwise, yet, he gets suspended. He is promised that the “investigation” will last five days at most, instead, it’s been seven. HR wants to communicate with the employee ONLY via phone, to which the employee opposes to, as he would like to have an in person meeting, instead.
Btw, the employee’s credentials have been stripped; he has no access to his pay, clock ins/outs, work schedule, etc.
The employee positively believes his rights have been violated and retaliation has taken place, as well.
Yes, an employer can suspend an employee and require that the employee participate in an investigation over the phone. However the employee must be paid for the time.
If you can prove you are being retaliated against for engaging in protected conduct you may have a legal claim. However, reporting general harassment by a co-worker, i.e. harassment not related to your membership in a protected class of people, may well not be protected conduct.
It would be wise for you to locate and consult with an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible to explore your facts and determine your options. I would suggest you look either on this site in the Find a Lawyer section, or go to www.cela.org, the home page for the California Employment Lawyers Association, an organization whose members are dedicated to the representation of employees against their employers.
Most employment attorneys who practice this area of law offer a free or low cost consultation in the beginning and then, if the matter has merit and value, will usually agree to work on a contingency basis, meaning you can hire an attorney without paying any money until the matter results in a positive outcome for you. Many advance all the costs of the litigation as well. Do not let fear of fees and costs keep you from finding a good attorney.
Good luck to you.
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