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Two big issues with NY/OH employer - New York

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  • Two big issues with NY/OH employer - New York

    A bit of background; I work in a brick and mortar store that's owned by a company based in Ohio. It's minimum wage, poor management, crappy hours, i.e. typical retail job. The company has a 90 day introductory period wherein employees are not eligible for full time benefits, fairly standard. The classification for a full time employee according to the company is one who works 32 hours a week on average. That's it, no other requirements other than hours a week. I've been with the company for about 8 months and work around 35-40 hours a week and not one week in the last 8 months have I worked under 32 hours.

    The main benefit for full time employees is paid time off, PTO for short, which is accrued at the rate of half a day per month, ever month after your first 90 days. A day of PTO is 8 hours of pay which you can use to offset any time you need off (sick days, whatever) or you can cash it in for 75% of it's value in a lump sum at any time.

    Accrued PTO is listed on our paycheck. After my 90 days were up I started keeping an eye on my paycheck to track my PTO. A full month goes buy and there's nothing listed on my check. I got a little worried but I figured they'd only list full days, so I waited another month. Again, nothing was showing up on my check so I asked my manager to look into the issue. My manager dragged his heels big time about it so I got fed up and called the regional manager. He said he'd look into the issue. Another month goes by and big surprise, still no PTO.

    This past week after another talk with my manager he finally called someone in our corporate office and got the situation sorted out. Now they are telling me that I wouldn't have any of my back PTO rewarded. Is this legal? I understand it's not a lot of money but I've been sick for the last week and I had to request two days off to recuperate so I could really use that time back.


    Now onto the second issue.

    About 3 weeks ago an individual utilized a flaw in the way we run credit cards through our system to "steal" about $700 worth of product from the store on three separate occasions. He hit three employees, the assistant manager, another sales associate and myself. The attacks came close enough together so that by the time we had wind of the issue from the credit card provider he had already been through all three of us. When he got me he made out with about $180 worth of product. Now my employer is telling me that I have to pay back that amount in full or they would fire me. They made a similar threat to the other two employees who immediately took the deal and payed the full amount.

    We never signed any kind of cash management policy, nor was the method of fraud he used covered in our training. Can they ask for that money?

    Minimum wage doesn't leave me with a lot of money to toss around at the end of the month but I also can't afford to lose my job. Any advice?

  • #2
    I am not expert in either of the states you mentioned, and there are no federal rules on PTO. I can say that you probably want to try to find a copy of the company PTO policy (if any). No state requires vacation/PTO. Some states are basically "follow the policy", while other states are more like "none of our business". At the risk of over generalizing, OH tends to be a "just like federal" state, while NY tends to have significant state labor laws.

    The one item I can address is that if you are a minimum wage employee (as in paid MW and no more), then the recovery of the credit card loss is illegal under federal law (FLSA). This would be a "for the benefit of the employer" type of deduction/recovery and any deduction/recovery would violate the MW "free and clear" rule. If you are paid slightly more then MW, then the deduction/recovery would be limited to the slightly more then MW.
    http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs16.pdf
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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    • #3
      Unfortunately, Ohio is silent on the PTO issue, and the only law New York has regarding PTO addresses the paying out of it at termination.

      Can you not call corporate HR yourself?
      I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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      • #4
        NY's rule is not uncommon. It would be very unlikely for states to have vacation/PTO rules at the level of detail you are looking for. I am going to still suggest that you try to get a copy of the policy and read it. I am not saying that policies are always or even generally legally enforceable. But it is always worth reading them, perhaps before you talk to HR. If the policy seems to support your position and HR still blows you off, then you might consider having a local NY attorney read the policy. I am not saying that this is a likely successful recourse, but I will say that it is a possible recourse.

        One last point. Different benefits have legally very different rules from each other. If you were talking about a benefit other then vacation/PTO, you could maybe get a very different answer. People like overly generalizing and assume that there is a "one size fits all" rule for benefits (and state law). People are wrong.
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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