How long can an employer put an employee on suspension without pay?
An employee was harassing me so I playfully tipped his hat (he does it to me all of the time.) He then commenced to attack me. I didn't fight back and was off the clock at the time. He and I were both put on suspension until further notice pending investigation (which is bogus all they had to do was ask the witnesses and watch the camera). It has almost been 3 weeks and no one will call or talk to me; the union has no clue whats going on. In my opinion I should have been written up for horseplay and not suspended. I have missed 3 weeks of work/ pay. What can I legally do about it, including back pay and such?
You say that you belong to a union; if that is the case, you have to reference the union or collective bargaining agreement or contract. If that agreement has any terms relating to suspension, discipline, etc., those terms are enforceable--the company has to do what the agreement says, or be liable for monetary damages (e.g. the pay you are owed). In the absence of a union contract (or an individual employment contract you may have), however, there is no rule on how long an employee may be suspended--it's up to the employer. At a certain point, if suspended without pay long enough, it may constitute "constructive termination" and allow you to start collecting unemployment because you have been effectively fired. If you union isn't helping you, try contacting the state labor dept. or the National Labor Relations Board; you might also consult with an employment attorney. Good luck.