Exempt Employee suspension

I have been asked to write a policy on our supervisor's for disciplinary purposes to include verbal, written, and eventually suspension without pay.  They are tax exempt employees's of our company, but I am confused about the guidelines I am reading.  We are based in WV and I cannot find anything specifically for our state.  For what causes can we suspend wtihout pay and for what lengths of time.  Can we use continuing performance issues as one?


  • 4 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Couple of things for you:

    1.  Do you mean exempt from overtime instead of tax exempt?  If so, then there are only certain reasons why you can deduct from an exempt employees weekly pay.

    2.  Be careful as you are writing the policy to not box yourself into a corner. If you say here is the disciplinary process - verbal, written, final written, etc. and then you don't do that every time with every employee, you will have an issue on your hands.  You need to make sure the policy is written to allow you to deviate from this process based on the nature of the case and the severity of the issue. You want to make sure you are consistent regarding disciplinary for the same reasons, but you want to allow the company some flexibility based on the severity of each issue.  You don't want to have someone commit assault on someone else and you not be able to go straight to termination because your policy says you will have a verbal, written, final written and then termination.

    3.  I am not a big fan of suspension without pay for any level of employee unless there is a really good reason for this.  If you are doing an investigation related to some thefts and you want to make sure you have all your facts and documentation in order before you terminate someone, then I can see suspending someone without pay until the investigation is complete.  But as I said, I am not a big fan of this.


  • Sorry about that....yes, I did mean overtime.  These are 40-hour-per-week salaried employees.  Some guidelines I read say you can only take one week at a time, some say one day.  It can be for absenteeism, infractions of workplace conduct, etc.  It does not cover performance or attendance with others.  I am getting confused as to how exactly to write this up and still protect the companies interests, I am not trained in HR, but come in to help out from time to time. (My husband is a co-owner.)  We are a very small company, but expanding and these employees are our supervisors.  I know we need strong guidelines that they should follow and ways to ensure compliance without a feeling of invinciblility.  Any help would be appreciated, and thank you for yours!

  • There are some major caveats before making a "disciplinary deduction" of an exempt employee's pay.  One of the biggest is that the employee must have engaged in "major misconduct."  The Department of Labor gives a few examples of "major misconduct"  ... such as sexual harassment and workplace violence. There is also a provision that allows deductions for major safety violations of "major significanc, including those related to the prevention of serious danger in
    the workplace or to other employees, such as rules prohibiting smoking in
    explosive plants, oil refineries or coal mines." You must also have a written policy that applies to all employees.  You can see what the Department of Labor has to say at http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsA/overtime/cr5.htm and http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/regs/compliance/fairpay/fs17g_salary.pdf
  • There's some over-complication going on here.

    If you want to suspend an exempt employee for other than major misconduct as described by DOL, you have to suspend them in whole calendar weeks and you can do that and not pay them a nickle.  If that is too harsh, then suspension is not an appropriate punishment.  If you have a policy that says that people eating pickles at their desks will be suspended, then you can suspend salaried employees for eating pickles at their desks as long as such suspensions encompass an entire calendar week.  Check with your attorney to see if a full week that spanned calendar weeks would be acceptable in your circuit.

    Suspending for less than a whole calendar week generally means you have to meet the requirements set for by DOL for major misconduct.  If I were you, I'd write the policy according to DOL regs and consult an attorney to ensure I'm not going to run afoul of any case law issues that have arisen.

Sign In or Register to comment.