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Can someone be suspended without pay for something that didn't happen at work?

Veedersburg, IN |

I work in a factory that is not part of a union. There were name calling events that had happened on a Friday and after work the other person and I had a confrontation at the gas station. On Monday I was wrote up for using vulgar names towards the other person. On Tuesday I was taken into the office by HR and informed I would be suspended indefinitely due to a letter someone wrote saying I threatened the person on Monday. I have multiple witnesses and video coverage showing I did not talk to the other girl on Monday but did tell the person who wrote the letter what had happened on Friday. I did what I did which was wrong but I was reprimanded for it. And then the next day suspended without pay indefinitely. Can they do that when I already had the write up and served my punishment?

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

Do you have an employment contract or are you an at-will employee? If you are an at-will employee you probably don't have a whole lot of options. Being an at-will employee means that your employer can terminate your employment for any reason, whether it is a good reason or a bad reason. In fact, they don't even have to have a reason. As long as the employer doesn't terminate you for an illegal reason, you probable don't have a cause of action. You may want to contact a local employment law attorney. Best of luck to you.


I am a California attorney and not eligible to give legal advice in your state. My comments are for information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT PROVIDE SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I refer to your state's laws, that only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that appeared relevant. You should not rely on any comment I make regarding your state's law. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state.

Employees have very few employment rights, and employers have a lot of leeway in how they choose to run their businesses. They can suspend, discipline and even fire an employee for pretty much any reason they want, even if the reason is unfair or based on incorrect information.

There are some limits to an employer's unfettered right to do whatever it feels like. Please look at my Avvo guide to at-will employment which may help you understand your rights now and in the future:

*** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***


In Indiana is like Missouri, an "employment at will" State, your employer can terminate you because he doesn't like the color of your shoes, or he had a bad hair day, or under the circumstances you outlines, all without liability. The exception is only if you can show the true reason was based on the fact that your are in a protected class: race, age, sex, etc. You can be disciplined in one particular manner and the employer can change his mind the next day or a month later or a year later and simply suspend you, terminate you, or reduce your pay.

This comment does not create an attorney-client relationship. The law and its application by the courts is constantly evolving and changing. This discussion is not to be taken as a definitive guide, and should not be relied upon to determine all fact situations. Each set of facts must be examined separately with the current case and statutory law analyzed and applied accordingly.

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