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Placed on admin leave pending "investigation".


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#1 AZsweet

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 08:03 AM

I have worked for an extremely large organization for 9 years now. I went out on my first "real" vacation and was gone for 11 days. Upon my return, I was advised that I was under investigation and when questioned, was advised that they couldnt tell me that. A few days later (one my day off) I was called by my boss and the Director of the business and advised that I was being placed on an administrative leave until such a time that the investigation was complete. When again asked why, the Director told me he didn't know...which, as a manager, I know to be untrue as I have seen many of these things over the years.
Prior to leaving on vacation, I had an employee that filed an age discrimination lawsuit. I hired the woman so I KNOW that I havent discriminated but out of training, this lady had quite a few issues and I began the process to terminate. Prior to terminating, the trainer mentioned that the emplyee had mentioned that she may have alzhiemers. Doing the right thing, I contacted HR and was advised to have the employee go to the doctor and provide accomodation forms....which I did with my boss. The agent then went on the file the complaint, for in my opinion, she was trying to keep her job. So very long story short, I have interviewed, reinterviewed and interviewed again by HR regarding this complaint.
I believe this witch hunt is a direct reflection of the age discrimination filing (though I did NOT do anything wrong) to satisfy the wish of the person filing the complaint. I am just collateral damage.

Do I need an attorney? I truly believe they are in process of termination and recognize their modis operandi.

#2 Tax_Counsel

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:57 AM

Do I need an attorney? I truly believe they are in process of termination and recognize their modis operandi.


You didn’t say in what state you are employed, and that may matter as much of labor law is state law and some details vary from state-to-state. By your user name, I can guess you may be located in Arizona, but that doesn’t tell me for sure where you work. In any event, assuming that (1) this is a private employer and not a government agency; (2) you are not a union member; and (3) you do not have an employment contract for a definite period of time (e.g. 1 year, 5 years, or whatever), then you likely have nothing to do if they fire you but file for unemployment compensation and look for a new job. Nothing you stated indicates that firing you would amount to “wrongful termination” as that term is used in the law.

In most states, when the employer is not a government agency, then the employer may legally fire you for any reason (or no reason at all) except for a few reasons prohibited by law. The prohibited reasons include firing you because:

• of your race, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic test information under federal law (some states/localities add a few more categories like sexual orientation);

• you make certain kinds of reports about the employer to the government or in limited circumstances to specified persons in the employing company itself (known as whistle-blower protection laws);

• you participate in union organizing activities;

• you use a right or benefit the law guarantees you (e.g. using leave under FMLA);

• you filed a bankruptcy petition;

• your pay was garnished by a single creditor or by the IRS; and

• you took time off work to attend jury duty (in most states).


Thus, if the employer fires you because it doesn’t like how you handled the employee you supervised, that’s not wrongful termination and you’d have nothing for which to sue your employer. If you are terminated, you may wish to consult an employment law attorney to review all the details of what occurred to see if perhaps something you didn’t mention here would make a difference. At least some attorneys provide free initial consultations, so you’d have little to lose by doing that. Just understand, though, that the employer generally doesn’t need a good reason to fire you. All that matters is that the reason is not one of the relatively few reasons that the law prohibits, like those I listed above.

#3 Fallen

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 08:34 AM

Only reason I can think of to need an attorney would be to consult one about suing this woman for libel/defamation, intentional interference with your at-will contract with employer, etc. Sounds like she's dancing the typical dance with regard to saving her job. Not clear why the employer is taking it so seriously if she hasn't in fact sued, or is making you a scapegoat; even if they want to do that, doesn't mean she cannot sue and win against them. Of course, if the woman's only complaining about your supposed age discrimination once she knew her job was in jeopardy, they ought to take a dim view of it all vs. had she complained about you earlier on when you supposedly began discriminating against her because of her age. All this does is teach others how to play them and makes them more vulnerable. And even if she has been diagnosed with Altzheimer's, that doesn't mean the employer's obligated to lower its performance standards or cut her slack for not properly doing her job.

I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics.  If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable.  Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation.  :)


#4 Tax_Counsel

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:14 AM

Only reason I can think of to need an attorney would be to consult one about suing this woman for libel/defamation, intentional interference with your at-will contract with employer, etc.


A defamation claim against the employee alleging the discrimination might be successful. However, a tort claim for intentional interference with contractual relations would go nowhere. I’ll not comment on the rest of your post, most of which seems to be rant against the employer for not handling the investigation the way you think it ought to be done. I don't see that as very useful for the OP.

#5 FindLaw_Amir

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 10:50 AM

You may want to visit the Employment Law Center and read Losing a Job as a good resource to learn more about this subject matter. I also suggest you consult with a local Employment Lawyer to advise you of your rights. Many lawyers do offer a free consultation.
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