If an employee is suspended withoutpay due to false allegations, once the allegations are dismissed shouldn’t theyget paid for the time that they were off?

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If an employee is suspended withoutpay due to false allegations, once the allegations are dismissed shouldn’t theyget paid for the time that they were off?

My roommate is employed as a medical technician at an assisted living facility. She has an exemplary record over 5 years. Now there are allegations of her hitting a resident with dementia, made by the resident. However, it supposedly happened on a night that she wasn’t even working. She has been suspended without pay pending an investigation. She was told that if the claim is determined to be false, she could use PTO to make up for her lost hours. But it seem as though if she is found not to be at fault, they should have to pay her. She did nothing wrong.

Asked on November 18, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

While seemingly unfair this action is perfectly permissible. The fact is that unless she her treatment is the result of some form of discrimination, or an unpaid suspension violates an employment contract, union agreement or existing company policy, no law is being broken. Most employment relationships are at will which means that an employer can set the terms and conditions of employment (including suspensions/terminations). For their part, an employee can choose to work for an employer or not.

Further, while using PTO in this situation may not seem fair, an employer is not legally obligated to provide it. So how, if and even when it is used is up to their discretion.

Bottom line, your roommate just got caught in a bad situation. At least she has PTO to cover her expenses, etc.


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