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Suspension for exempt managers Massachusetts

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  • Suspension for exempt managers Massachusetts

    I have a couple questions under this topic. Can someone be suspended rightfully with no other disciplinary action in their file, for something that is NOT a gross act of misconduct? And if it is a non pay suspension can they use one of the days you have already worked 7 hours as 1 of the non pay days or do they have to pay you for that day? Your input is greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Can someone be suspended rightfully with no other disciplinary action in their file, for something that is NOT a gross act of misconduct?

    Yes. Whether you do or do not have any previous disciplinary issues is never a factor legally; what you may or may not have done previously has no legal significance to what you may have done now. Even the employee with ten disciplinary writeups in their file initially had one that was their first. If you are terminated the fact that it is your first offense might make it easier for you to get unemployment, but that's about the only way it would have any significance.

    However, while you can be suspended without pay for something that is not necessarily gross misconduct (regardless of previous actions), the employer's right to suspend an exempt employee without pay is not unlimited. An exempt employee can be suspended without pay under only two conditions; one, for a major safety violation and two, for the violation of a written company policy that all employees are subject to and which relates to workplace conduct.

    An exempt employee can be suspended WITH pay for just about anything.

    And if it is a non pay suspension can they use one of the days you have already worked 7 hours as 1 of the non pay days or do they have to pay you for that day?

    No, the only days that can be unpaid are days you did not work.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      Yes, in most cases you can be suspended without pay, unless you have a contract, handbook or collective bargaining agreement, that says otherwise. By way of background, MA is an at-will employment state. This means you can be terminated or suspended for any reason or no reason at all - so long as the real reason isn't discrimination or some other limited exceptions.

      Also, you must be paid for your work. Although there are exceptions to this rule for deductions and other disciplinary actions, these are tightly defined and regulated. You'd need to flesh out their reasoning quite a bit to see if they can properly withold pay for a full day's work.

      .
      This post is by Philip Gordon, a Massachusetts employment attorney (www.gordonllp.com).

      This post is NOT legal advice. It is for general/educational information purposes only. You should not rely on this post if you are making decisions, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. This post may be considered "advertising" under the MA professional rules for attorneys.

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      • #4
        So does that mean that as a manager unintentially overlooking the fact that one of my associates failed to complete all of their job assignments could be construed as poor job performance and that would be a violation of a written company policy?

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        • #5
          Your overlooking, intentionally or unintentionally, that one of your associates did not complete their assignments is not something for which you, as an exempt employee, can be suspended without pay. You can be suspended WITH pay; you can be disciplined in any other method that your employer finds appropriate up to and including termination, but under the Federal Fair Pay Act you cannot be suspended without pay for this particular infraction.

          Caveat: This presumes that you actually are an exempt employee as indicated in your subject heading. If you are a non-exempt employee, you can be suspended without pay for this or any other infraction unless a bona fide contract specifies otherwise; the law does not limit how a non-exempt employee can be disciplined.
          The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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          • #6
            So how would I go about getting my pay for the days that I was suspended for without pay? I am definitely Exempt.

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            • #7
              Contact the MA AG's office. They function as the DOL in this state and handle wage issues.
              The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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              • #8
                Is there somewhere I can go to see a copy of that law?

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                • #9
                  Google 29 C.F.R.541.602(b)(5)
                  The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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