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Employment Law/Employment suspension

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Question
I am a salary exempt employee of 23 years. My employer emailed me with "let this serve as an official notice of employment suspension. I will review at a later date." I was given no reason for this suspension or time frame in which it will be reviewed. What are my rights in regard to pay/earned vacation/unemployment benefits/insurance.

Answer
Sherry - You have not been terminated, so unemployment should not yet be a concern.  When and if you are terminated, you should file for UC benefits immediately.  If you are out of work for longer than one pay period, you can consider filing for UC, although that might be viewed unfavorably by your employer.  You'll have to decide whether the situation can be salvaged before making that decision.

If you are entitled to keep vacation days, i.e., it is not a use it or lose it situation, your final paycheck should have the vacation pay in it.  

Employers are under no obligation to provide employees with benefits, and if your employer wants to terminate your coverage, you are entitled to COBRA notice of your rights to continue receiving health insurance through your employer's group plan.  This is dependent on you not being fired for cause and it costs you money, usually slightly more than the actual monthly premium.

I suggest you contact your HR Department and ask when you can expect to hear a decision on your continued employment.  Explain that you may have to file for UC benefits if it isn't going to be within a week.  Ask about whether your health insurance is being continued.  Unfortunately, you have no rights with regard to a quick decision nor are employees in the US protected from arbitrary firing.  

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Margaret M. deMarteleire

Expertise

I can answer most questions about employment law, federal or state. I am an attorney, not an HR professional, so questions about HR careers, coursework, prospects, etc. are not within my scope.

Experience

Attorney for 20 years, currently working exclusively with employment law - FLSA, FMLA, federal contracts, pay, etc.

Education/Credentials
Temple University School of Liberal Arts, BA, Rhetoric & Communication, 1982 Temple University School of Law, JD, 1990 Certificate in HR, Cornell University ILR School, 2006

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