Most employers in most states are able to suspend employees without pay. However, they must have this action laid out in an employee handbook as part of a discipline procedure, and the suspension must be undertaken for a legitimate violation of workplace policy as defined by the handbook.
Suspension without pay is applied most easily to non-exempt employees because they are not salaried. Exempt employees can also be suspended without pay, but it typically requires a more serious workplace violation, such as sexual harassment or the use of alcohol or drugs at the workplace. No employer has the right to discriminate against employees on the basis of anything other than performance, and an individual who experiences discrimination should contact the workplace's human resources department.