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Final Paycheck Dispute Georgia

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  • Final Paycheck Dispute Georgia

    I can see from what I've already read on here that Georgia is pretty behind in labor laws, final pay, etc.... But I figured I should ask anyway...

    I live in AL and was working at a childcare center in GA. It was about an hour and 20 minute drive each way. It seemed like a very realistic choice when I applied and was eventually hired. Plus they offered me $9.50/hr and with the centers around my house paying minimum wage, I jumped at the chance. After being with the company for almost 2 months, I decided that it was just too much for us as a family... I was having to drop one off at a daycare at 6:00 AM here in AL so they could take her to school and then I was not able to pick her up until 5:30 PM. *there's a one hour time difference that affects these hours, my schedule was 8:30-5:00 GA time* My other daughter had to endure that long ride twice a day, everyday...

    Anyway, I decided to give them a one week notice. With the cost of their childcare (even with my discount) and with the expense of gas, I basically couldn't even afford to work that one week, but I did because I felt so badly about leaving. They were all cordial to me, but it was different that week. I still came in every day, did my job and even completed a month and a half of lesson plans for them, to help them out! Not to mention that took me almost 3 hours of my own time to complete!

    So, onto my questions... I received my final paycheck for 2 full weeks (80 hours) and it was for $181! I looked over the check and saw that they had lowered my pay to $7.00/hr. from the $9.50 I was hired at.... I still have my other paystub where the payrate is $9.50 1) CAN THEY DO THAT?

    The next issue with this check is some random deduction they took out.... On my paystub there's a part under deductions that says MISC. and in my first and only other check, it was childcare expenses, which was $189/2 weeks (it's $189/week and I get an employee discount of 50%, making it $189/2 weeks or $189 per pay period, except I wasn't supposed to pay all of that, only about $20). On this check they had $250 as the amount under MISCz! I did not owe these people anything. I never attended training or took classes from them or anything! 2)CAN THEY ADD EXPENSES WITHOUT MY KNOWLEDGE OR WITHOUT EXPLANATION?

    So, one other question I have is related to the childcare expense... In the past, I've signed a paper stating I agree to them deducting the childcare expense directly from my pay... I didn't do that at this center because I'm on a childcare assistance program here in AL. My caseworker talked to my employer and the Director of the center agreed to take the childcare assistance, making my payment around $20/pay period. Well, on my first paycheck they deducted the $189 for childcare anyway. I wasn't expecting to pay that and they just did it anyway with no warning or anything... 3)CAN THEY DO THIS?

    I tried to call and talk to them and the OWNER told me I needed to discuss it with the Director!!! Even the owner wouldn't talk to me! So, I have emailed the Director and am currently awaiting a reply... I'd like to know if they have any legal backing for any of this? And if not, how difficult will it be to pursue this further! Which I fully intend on doing!

    Any info or feedback would be appreciated! Thanks! I know this is a lot, but I wanted you to have all the info you might need!

  • #2
    You're right that Georgia is very weak when it comes to wage and hour law.

    1. Maybe. Although there is no GA law specifically requiring advance notice of a pay decrease, the doctrine of implied contracts may apply. A civil suit or small claims action would be required.

    2. Federal law does not specifically require written authorization for deductions from pay, only that without one, the deduction cannot take the employee below minimum wage. If that occurred, you could file a claim with the federal DOL or include the amount in your legal action. Have you contacted the employer and asked them what it was for?

    3. That's an internal issue only.

    Let us know what you hear back, then we can discuss further if you wish.
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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    • #3
      Getting nowhere with them...

      I spoke with my previous employer today and she said that the lowered pay rate was because I did not give a full 2 weeks notice and that it was standard company policy and it was also in the manual. I told her that I had never seen that and I guarantee that she has my signature nowhere agreeing to it. She said that it's just standard procedure. I inquired about the $250 and she told me that it was for childcare expenses. I told her that my childcare was $189, not $250, so where did the difference come from. She ten responded with "I'll have to ask so and so... I'll get back to you."

      So, I called the GA DOL and she said what you'd already told me about minimum wage, etc... but she did tell me that it falls under another FLSA section about employment-at-will. She said that since I'm not required to give notice, she wasn't sure if they could just lower my pay in retaliation. She then referred me to the local DOL office. I tried calling, but have been unable to speak with anyone up to this point.

      This is a franchise and so I called the corporate office about their business practices. The corporate employee informed me that it was not company policy to reduce an employee's wages, but b/c it is a franchise, it may be their "company policy". I am currently waiting on a reply from them about the $250 deduction. She also told me that ultimately, it is a matter to be resolved between the owners and myself. I told her that it was (and still is) my assumption that if a business owner, franchise or otherwise, is carrying your name and reputation, wouldn't you have a vested interest in that company's business practices.

      I'll update tomorrow with whatever other news I get...

      But if I may add, is there something that could come into play about it being employment-at-will? Since neither the employee or employer is REQUIRED to even give notice, much less a full 2 weeks, can they retaliate or punish me for not doing so? And if it's "company policy" wouldn't I need to sign something or wouldn't they have to prove that I knew in advance about that policy?

      I may be off base, but this really irks me that I worked a week for them, when I didn't even want to in the first place and then they did this!.... If you can't tell, I'm fuming over this! I think this is immature and petty on the part of this particular business owner!

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      • #4
        One other thing... (and this may not belong here, so please move and start new thread if necessary, but it is in conjunction with my previous question)

        I was not allowed to tell the parents I was leaving the center. They told me they were just going to wait and inform the parents on Monday. I know they wanted to wait as long as possible because teachers are in and out of that room like there's a revolving door installed.... If they have lied to them or told them negative things about me, do I have any legal recourse? And can they give me a negative reference in the future? If so, what rights do I have to stop this from happening?

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        • #5
          If they have no proof that you were aware of the policy (which is legal, with notification, even if that notification is in an employee handbook), you would still likely prevail in a civil action.

          Personally, I think such a policy is unfair and retaliatory (although not illegal, as explained above). I think employers should pay what they agreed to pay, period. But that's just my opinion, which with a buck can't even get you a cup of coffee any more.

          Whether you have any legal recourse if they lie to the parents about the reason for your firing is going to depend on whether you suffer any monetary damages because of it, which at this point, is unknowable.

          The employer may give references which are the truth, or their firmly held opinion. "Mommy was fired for theft" may be a cause for action if you suffer damages because of that statement if it was not true. "Mommy was fired for suspicion of theft (or because she was not a good fit, or she couldn't work the hours we wanted or she had a bad attitude)" would not be actionable.

          I don't blame you for being upset, but short of any violations of law (which I agree you should pursue, just on principle), you only worked there for a couple of months. The other stuff just, IMHO, isn't worth your time and effort, which would be better used searching for another job. Are you eligible for any training help from UI which would allow you to apply for better jobs?

          Good luck.
          Last edited by Pattymd; 02-24-2009, 10:50 PM.
          I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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          • #6
            I have found other employment. It's a part time job, making less money, but it's closer to home and it's a much more suitable work environment.

            I'm certain that I'm not going to suffer any monetary loss even if they are bad-mouthing me, but again, it's the principle in the matter.

            I quit this position for many reasons and giving a full two week notice would have been a burden to me and my family. I tried to do everything in my power to help them and make it easy to bring in a new person... I don't regret being nice or helpful because that's who I am, but I do now regret going above and beyond for this particular company.

            I do plan on pursuing this further. I will continue until I feel that I have been completely satisfied with their actions, as far as fixing this. If I have to take it to court and file a civil suit, then so be it. I just honestly thought they would do what was right and cut me another check for the differences. This is a center that's not doing so well as far as enrollment and any negative associated with them could possibly be detrimental. It's just not good for business when you treat your employees the way they've treated me.

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            • #7
              My former employer called and left a voicemail today stating that she was on vacation when payroll was done and that the owner didn't know how much to deduct, so she just deducted $250. She also said that she figured my childcare bill and figured that they owe me $30. On my very first day of work, my oldest daughter was out of school and so she told me to bring her and she'd give me a free play day for her. Well, she's gone back and is now charging me for that day. It wasn't deducted from my first pay period, which is where the day would've fallen. Can they do this?

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              • #8
                Although it may or may not be fair, this is an issue between you and the company.
                I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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                • #9
                  Thank you so much for all your help! I realize that this is going to be more of a personal dispute than a legal one, but I really wanted some legal backing before I got in to anything too serious. I do still plan on pursuing it, but it just seems like it comes down to a plain and simple "this isn't fair." And my Uncle always says "fair" isn't a legal term... LOL

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mommy4two View Post
                    Thank you so much for all your help! I realize that this is going to be more of a personal dispute than a legal one, but I really wanted some legal backing before I got in to anything too serious. I do still plan on pursuing it, but it just seems like it comes down to a plain and simple "this isn't fair." And my Uncle always says "fair" isn't a legal term... LOL
                    A colleague of mine says that "fair" is where you go to see pigs with blue ribbons, ride the ferris wheel, and eat cotton candy.
                    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks for the laugh!!! I'll have to pass that one along to my Uncle! He's a big guy at a corporation and he says he gets tired of how people are always in his office telling hiim how things aren't "fair". He'll truly appreciate the humor in that one!

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