Q: Is it unlawful for an employer to provide a false reason for placing an employee on administrative leave?
On March 16th, I was informed that members on my team have been laid-off/furloughed due to the epidemic. On March 19th, using my employers Ethics and Compliance Reporting Hotline, I submitted a report of racial discrimination for an issue that had been occurring for several months. The next day, March 20th, I was placed on "Administrative Leave > Layoff Epidemic, Reason - Epidemic" until June 30th. I am the only team member who is on Administrative Leave. I understand that an employer can legally place an employee on Administrative Leave if they are under investigation. However, it has been eleven days since I was placed on Administrative Leave and my employer has not contacted me regarding an investigation process or my compensation throughout the suspension.
A: It's not entirely clear what the substantive difference between being on administrative leave and laid off/furloughed would be in this situation. Also, if the entire building was laid off prior to the complaint (or leave request?) being made, it might be difficult to establish a case of retaliation. Perhaps there are more facts not given here that would be helpful for a lawyer to evaluate the legal situation- such as the nature of the pre-layoff racial discrimination and any damages that might have been sustained as a result.
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