Can an employer discipline an employee on an issue that was brought to their attention?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can an employer discipline an employee on an issue that was brought to their attention?

I had a co-worker sending mail and messages to my wife telling her lies about me. I brought this to HR’s attention a couple of weeks ago and was told to keep the letters and save the messages. Last week she was talking about how she was going to ruin my career, I said to her that it has to stop or my wife and I would be pressing harassment charges. She went to HR and told them I threatened her and I got 3 days off no pay. She still works there with no discipline to her. Is this legal?

Asked on December 5, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Do you have any protection againt this type of suspension under the terms of an employment contract, union agreemnt, etc.? Does it constitute some form of legally actionable discrimination? If not, then this action is legal. The fact is that in an "at will" employment relationship, a company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. This includes who to place on suspension, why, and for how long.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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