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Employment Law/Falsely Accused and then on Crisis Suspension


Hi Shirley,

I am a co-op student at a pulp and paper factory. Lately, there is a formal complaint brought up against me, stating that I threatened one of my coworkers, I will refer her as "M" from now on.
In my case, I totally did not say the sentence that my coworker accused me for threatening. (Not the case that I said it, but she took it wrong. I didn't even say it.) I was not able to provide any evidence that I did not say such thing. My coworker, M, can't not provide any evidence that I said such thing either. This case is a dead end now.

Therefore, the investigation was conducted. However, the HR did not let me know that this investigation was about me. HR just told me there was an incident, and started asking questions. My direct supervisor or any supervisor in my department was not involved in the investigation process. My coworker, M,'s supervisor, even a friend coworker, were both present when I was asked questions. They were both taking notes.
Throughout the investigation, HR used languages like "You are just a coop student. Your coworker M has been here for 20 years. How can I believe you over her?" and "You are so close to telling me the truth, but you did not" were used.

Then I was put on "crisis suspension". I was not notified what "crisis suspension" meant exactly. My supervisor was not aware that I was suspended, until I told him myself. My supervisor totally believed in me. When I attempt to ask more questions about my suspension, HR asked me to leave immediately. HR said she would call me on next business day.

Now, I have been doing a great job at work. My supervisor is willing to speak for me. However, I am just a intern/coop student, therefore is not a union member. Can I file a complaint about discrimination against coop students in this case? What else can I do in this case to prevent being falsely accused? Is this okay that HR can say things like that during an ongoing investigation? Were my supervisors supposed to be involved in such process? Can I ask to be paid during my "Crisis Suspension"?

Thanks, I look forward to hearing from you

As far as doing anything about the accusation if HR has ended the investigation and you are still working than it is officially over and done with. I would not bring it up any further I would just go on from here.

The crisis suspension pay does not have to be paid but often is paid it is up to the company whether or not it is paid.

If you are not a Union member you have little rights in a Union community and there is not very much you can do. As HR I would have involved your supervisors , however, HR is in charge of this type of thing and has been given that authority by the company.

If your supervisor is willing to speak for you with HR than he can certainly do that, however, I am not sure that it will help much if the investigation is already closed. It sounds like a he said/she said situation in which neither side can prove their case so it just closes without futher investigation and is over. I would try to stay clear as much as possible of the co worker that you had a problem with. Obviously if she has falsly accused you of something she is not your friend.


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Shirley McAllister, CPP, PHR


I can answer questions about payroll laws and payroll tax laws and Human Resource laws and agencies. I can answer federal payroll and human resource law questions and most states; I do not have a knowledge of the local taxes for cities and counties within the state. If and when I can I will try and send you the website where you can reference the answer and where you can obtain more information as well as a contact number if needed for that particular agency. Some agencies I have worked with are IRS, Department of Labor (federal and state), Revenue Canada (and provincial governments), Inland Revenue, OSHA (0ccupational Safety and Health Administration); Social Security Administration and National Child Support as well as other agencies in Payroll and Human Resources. Some Laws I am particularly familiar with are FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act), ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act), FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act ) , QDRO's, QMCSO's, and other support orders and garnishments, USERRA (Uniformed Services Employment and Remployment Rights Act,PPA Act (Pension Protection Act of 2006, As well as most other employment type acts. I am also well versed in the Title V Civil Rights Act and the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).


30 years in Payroll and Human Resources

SHRM (Society of Human Resources) APA (American Payroll Association) DOLEA (Department of Labor Employers Association) CPA (Canadian Payroll Association) NAPW (National Association of Professional Women) The Mentoring Network

PHR Certification in Human Resources CPP Certification in Payroll in U.S. Payroll Administrator and Payroll Supervisor certification in Canada

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