Well, I heard some people talkin' just the other day
And they said you were gonna put me on a shelf
But let me tell you I got some news for you
And you'll soon find out it's true...
-"Already Gone" by the Eagles
I think I've written about people being put on administrative leave before - but I'm reminded of it on the news that Ohio State put football coach Urban Meyer on Paid Administrative Leave this week. Meyer is currently looking at the kitchen walls at home as his phone blows up, based the school announcing it is investigating Courtney Smith's claims that several people close to Meyer knew of a 2015 allegation of domestic violence against her ex-husband, former Ohio State assistant football coach Zach Smith, who was fired in July.
This post isn't about college football. It's about the use of Administrative Leave, usually of the paid variety.
Paid Administrative Leave means the following things:
1--Whatever you're accused of is too damn hot to allow you to remain in the workplace.
2--Your employer believes that you likely did enough (or didn't do enough for leadership positions) on the issue in question to warrant your eventual termination.
3--Administrative Leave is a form of action your employer can point to as taking action while they actually investigate what happened on the issue in question.
4--YOU ARE UNLIKELY TO COME BACK FROM ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE.
Got it? Great. Let's dig into #4 above a bit. It's a tough pill to swallow for some.
YOU ARE UNLIKELY TO COME BACK FROM ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE.
Your employer put you out because they believed there was a high probability your investigation would end in a termination.
But for every day you are out, your career expertise and power, as well as your ability to return to your job, decreases in a dramatic way. That stinks. It's like a game of Fortnite where you have a power level for an individual. You're getting whacked hard every day you are out, and the players in the game all see your power level after a week of being out and determine it's only a matter of time before you're out of the game. This perception makes it hard for you to survive and come back off of paid administrative leave.
That stinks because sometimes you're innocent. The good news for most people who will read this is that their process would be nowhere near as public as Urban Meyer.
If you're confronted with an allegation, do what you can to avoid being placed on leave. Offer to take vacation, personal days and generally get out of the way. Avoid the tag of Administrative Leave if you can.
Oh yeah, be sure to take action on people who do bad things and shouldn't be part of the company. Don't protect people you like who do stupid things. Don't do stupid things. These are all viable options to avoid administrative leave.