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Former Employer

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by KeithPas, Feb 6, 2003.

  1. KeithPas

    KeithPas Supporting Member

    May 16, 2000
    I went to work for a guy that I considered a friend in June. It was great, the business was doing well and the work environment was nice. When the winter months came the business slowed down and the environment got a bit tense. I was working 6 days a week when I was promised a 5 day work week but I wanted things to work out so I did'nt fuss. Eventually my employer tells me we have to talk but instead hands me a letter stating that my pay was basically getting cut in half. Please don't misunderstand I don't have too much of a problem with the business not doing well enough to pay me my wage but to do that in a letter I thought was disrespectful to me not only as a worker but as a husband and a father. I fortuantely found another good job in a couple of weeks and I quit. My former employer now refuses to pay me my last paycheck. I went to the place I used to work at to ask him if there was a check for me and he said no. The next day he leaves a message on my answering machine stating that he is talking to his attorny and wants to sue my for slander and insubordination (?)! I'm not trolling for free legal advise but does this sound grossly unethical if not illegal to anyone else but me? I am owed 6 days wages and I plan on filing an L&I claim against him. Thanks for any advice.
  2. KeithPas

    KeithPas Supporting Member

    May 16, 2000
    What kind of a nutcase can think that insubordination is something a person can be sued for? How can I be insubordinate to a person that no longer employs me?
  3. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    Can we say frivolous lawsuit? Maybe he is just trying to scare you off...seriously I don't think you can SUE for insubordination. That's what having the power of firing someone is for. They don't work or listen you fire them. You don't sue them for crying out loud. Plus if you have never slandered him in a public setting to where his reputation could be hurt and therefore his business suffers he obviousy has no case. I don't know the full letter of the law and I am sure it's different state to state too, so I could definitely be wrong.

    A similar thing happened to my brother awhile ago where a place wouldn't give him his last paycheck. I think he eventually got it out of him by telling him he was gonna take him to court. It's probably not worth it unless you can represent yourself but that is just so unethical for someone to do to you.
  4. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    he's just trying to scare you off, because he knows that you can sue him for your back wages plus make a hard time for him.
  5. A lot of it depends the labor regulations of your state and whether or not you held an employment contract with him. I am faced with a similar situation currently.

    Basically, I was fired on my day off for going to the doctor, no kidding. You'd think I have grounds for a major lawsuit especially considering that my absence from work not only was my regularly scheduled day off from work but I also had advance written permission on the schedule from my former manager to go to doctor.

    On the day of my office visit for a CAT scan, however, she changed her mind, called my house (which was an hour away from the doctor) and informed my wife that I was to be at work in one hour or I would be written up because I had "agreed" to her to work that day, even though I normally had it off anyway. In fact, I had done no such thing, but she took down the schedule and changed it after the fact and kept it at her desk so that I could not have record of having had advance permission to not work that day.

    Two days later, I was fired for being "unreliable." Nevermind I was the one she called whenever other poeple laid out of work to get high, because I had to go to the doctor for treatment of a SERIOUS medical condition, I was suddenly unrelaible. I had worked in severe pain many times and had requested my doctors appointments off at least two weeks in advance, all of which were approved by her until she changed her mind AFTER the fact.

    You'd think I could take the company to the cleaners, but there's one catch: Tennessee is what's known as a "free will" work state, which means you can be fired for any or no reason unless you hold an employemnt contract. Even though there is a federal law that she directly violated by firing me for being ill, the Family Medical Leave Act, since I had no employment contract and she has since destroyed all evidence of my real schedule, I have no recourse.

    Did I mention she also shorted my last paycheck 27 hours? Can't even file a claim with the Labor Board over that until 21 days later, by state law.
    I have another job, one that I got before I was fired, (I got the hint) so I am at least working.

    What's this got to do with the initial post? Depending on your state's laws, your employer may very well be able to sue you for whatever.

    I don't EVER want hear about the "evils" of unions again. The people who talk about how lazy people who have to work for a living and try to utilize collective bargaining to get a fair shake are, need to have to make a living in Tennessee. I hold two worthless college degrees in Telecommunications, not something like Underwater Basket Weaving, and have over ten years experience and this is the job market. Don't waste your money on college kiddies; it's only a ruse to get you in debt for the rest of your life.
  6. JizzDogg


    Nov 4, 2002
    Seattle, WA
    I'm 20 with some Community College under my belt, no degree, but tons of real world experience in my field. I plan to go back and get an AAS in Network Systems. I want to go to school for the knowledge not for the monetary gain (though it's nice). :D
  7. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.

    I can sympathise with you PBG.

    My wife went through pretty much the same thing. The labor laws in my state (NC) are so unfair that it's unbelievable.

  8. jcadmus


    Apr 2, 2000
    Contact your state labor board immediately and file a complaint.

    He can't hold up your last check.

    And the slander lawsuit is B.S. -- he'll never file it and no lawyer will take the case (no money in it and too hard to prove, even if it were true, which I doubt.)
  9. KeithPas

    KeithPas Supporting Member

    May 16, 2000
    Thanks for all of the replies to my post, I really appreciate all of your opinions and experiences. I am going to contact my Labor And Industries Board and file a complaint. I checked out their website last night for Workers Rights provisions in my state and I appear to be on solid ground with a claim against him. I do plan on calling the former employer today to tell him to only correspond with me through the mail. In that way I can document our correspondence. It turns out that when friends of mine heard of my situation more examples of unethical and dishonest behaviour by the former employer surfaced. I'll keep you all updated as the situation develops.
  10. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    contact the following and get email addresses to send in writing (always get stuff in writing):

    1) you state workforce commission

    2) US Dept. of Labor

    3) National Labor Relations Board

    pm me for phone numbers

    my girlfriend went through almost the same crap a week ago. the boss wouldn't release her check unless she wrote a letter to him stating how good of a boss he was.

    US DoL was called and they called him and my girlfriend. She got her check. The only thing is that we have some pull here in san antonio. her mom and my best friend work for a US Congressmember, I worked for two different City Councilmembers and a State Rep. we are lucky that we know who to call. pm if you need some advice
  11. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    Very interesting. One of the guitar players in my band is going through a very similar situation. He worked at a computer store, held the position as store manager for over 2 years, he did it all.....manager (employee babysitter), the head tech repair guy, the outside service tech, and salesman. He worked this job for 2 years, and was only making $9 an hour doing so, with no benefits. After some long consideration, and finding out that other employees were offered medical insurance (and he was not), he decided to talk to the store owner, and let them know that it was time to not only increase the pay scale (in 3 years of service, NEVER got a raise), but he also wanted the same insurance opportunities that some other employees were getting. The owner told him that the store wasn't doing well enough to do so at the time, and that maybe his requests were made at a later time. 2 days later, she shows up in her brand new PT cruiser. This was enough for him to turn in his 2 week notice. At the end of 2 weeks, he left. She has since refused to pay him his final check, for 90 hours on the last 2 weeks period. He filed papers with small claims court to get his check. She in return, filed a criminal theft charge against him, claiming a used mother board came up missing in the last week or so he worked there. He went to some kind of pre-trial this past week, and the case was immediately dismissed. He did have to hire a lawyer for this, and miss a days work though. His new lawyer is now suggesting he drop the small claims suit, and go for the big whammy on her with a discrimination suit of some kind. Turns out the employees she did give insurance to were single, with no dependents...but did not offer it to anyone with children, or a family. I figure they must have a good case, as the attorney offered to take the suit on a consession, meaning if they don't win, his attorney fees are nothing.

    The best news is, my buddy said if all goes well on the suit, we are getting our own PA system :)

    It truly is a bad deal though, with 3 children, including a newborn.....something like this can kill finances real quick on a family living paycheck to paycheck.

    Good luck, and I hope you can get your pay soon!
  12. KeithPas

    KeithPas Supporting Member

    May 16, 2000
    I would like to clarify what really burned me about this situation. The former employer left a message on my phone saying he was talking to his attorny about slander and insubordination. He addressed this not just to me but also to my wife. I thought that it sounded creepy and I told him to never, ever call my home again. I also sent him a copy of my paystub and let him know specifically what he owed me. (The guy was in Hawaii with his family for a week while I was running his business). I also went to my Labor and Industries website and printed out the specific law that was applicable to our situation. Thanks again for all of the advice I appreciate it.
  13. KeithPas

    KeithPas Supporting Member

    May 16, 2000
    I just wanted to give an update on this situation. I got my last paycheck and a nasty letter from the old boss saying he "just could'nt understand why I quit the way I did". No lawsuits, I did file the claim but he paid me before they had time to enforce it. Thanks again for all of the replies to my post.
  14. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    good job - good for you. now i think you should buy us something for our help. :D
  15. KeithPas

    KeithPas Supporting Member

    May 16, 2000
    :bassist: :( ;)
  16. KeithPas

    KeithPas Supporting Member

    May 16, 2000
    I hit the sad face by accident.:D

  17. Is he real thick??? What's not to understand about working 20% more hours for half pay??? Are holidays to Hawaii cheap??? Maybe he should have been man enough to talk to you friend to friend in the first place! Then you could both have been saved a lot of stress and hassle! Maybe he'll learn.

    Glad to hear that he did the right thing - although, it sounds like he did it just to avoid hassle. Glad it worked out for you though!:)
  18. KeithPas

    KeithPas Supporting Member

    May 16, 2000
    I don't think he is thick I do think that he is self centered and immature. My primary gripe with him originally was that he spent countless hours coming up with a written restructuring of his business but he could'nt find ten minutes to talk to me like a man.
  19. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    Yeah that does indeed sound like a bad situation. Good to know that he plans to spend the money he gets out of the suit on a pa system for the band. :confused:

    brad cook
  20. Beefbass

    Beefbass Guest

    Feb 4, 2001
    I believe the "at will" system of employment is a Federal thing, but I could be wrong. In simple terms, it means that you can be fired at any time, for practically any reason (as long as it's not some kind of discrimination)At the same time, you can walk out anytime you want to. The two week notice is only enforcable if there is a written agreement to it at the time of employment. Otherwise, it is a curtosy.
    And as far as I know, your final check cannot be withheld. It may vary between states, but here in Massachussetts, your final pay can't be held, even if you owe the company money.

    Psycho Bass Guy, that sucks what happened to you. I saw the same kind of thing in retail 10 years ago; the ones who work always get the shaft, while the lazy ones always get over. Car business is getting the same way. I've had the rug yanked out from under me several times over the last 15 years. I never feel safe in this business anymore.
    You just never know anymore.

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