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Back pay and overtime after termination. California

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  • #16
    When you took it up with the family in Germany, what did they say?

    Please note that if you file a wage claim with the DLSE, the IRS may get wind of you and your non-reporting. This may get you into more hot water than you want.

    (Regarding the woman, your non-reporting to the IRS has nothing to do with whether or not she's honest. The reporting was up to you, not her. She may have thought you were reporting all along. And she may not have been allowed to give you more than $500 per month, and felt that if she asked for more for you it would carry less weight than if you asked for it yourself, given that you knew more about your situation than she did. Again, not a reflection of her honesty or possible lack thereof.)

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    • #17
      So you were working under the table, received "free" room and board, and never reported any of the income for years? And you are upset that you weren't paid enough? It isn't at all clear that this was an actual employment relationship and it does not sound like this friend had any authority to allow you to move into the home nor serve as a caregiver. You said the family in Germany knew nothing of this? Did it not occur to you that when she started becoming ineligible for services that maybe you should move out? If you are just an overnight caregiver, you can sleep there at night in case there is a need, which is not an unusual arrangement and what it sounds like was asked of you, but do not have to make her home your residence. So you moved in, she lost needed services, and you started performing some of those services? And you never thought to clear that with the family or whomever was responsible for her medical care? A POA to pay bills is very different and does not authorize someone to start hiring staff or move someone into the home.

      Frankly, this whole situation is just baffling. Why you would give up your job to move in with the elderly friend of a friend? Why you would live there instead of just stay over night? Why you wouldn't have moved out when it meant she lost services? Why you never actually spoke to this woman's family for years? Why you never filed taxes (and yes, if you file a claim for unpaid wages you will be in trouble for not paying taxes and reporting income)?
      I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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      • #18
        reply to thread.

        Wow, some good information, both to my detriment and to the favor of my friend. I spoke with her today in an effort to have more accurate information to share with you.

        When I said "no contact" I should have been more accurate. There were 4 times her grandson called at christmas. The calls were brief and polite. I did not bring up the money issue. I also began chatting online with him a few times each month. These chats were usually focused on the grandmother and one of us, (usually me), had to be up and awake at times most are sleeping. So, it was difficult.

        Re: increased responsabilities. Yes, both parties were aware of the additional duties. The woman who hired me is a friend, I know I said that, but, to be more precise, She is the grandmother of a friend who passed away a few years ago. I'm a baby by comparison. I say this to show the scope of our relationship. I found out today that she had no idea about the current minimum wage . She thought, at best, the minimum wage was, are you ready, $2.65 per hour. Can you imagine my reaction? I could not stop laughing at her sincerity. When I corrected her, she realized why I had been unhappy with my situation.

        The reason I quit my part time job is this: Initially, I worked both jobs and had moved in to the home. However, as mentioned, when the job dmanded more time, I had to choose between a part time w/ no home or one with a home.

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        • #19
          If I said the family new nothing, I apologize. They were certainly aware of and approved of what was happening. However, I don't know the extent of her authority. I do know she had a limited power of attorney which allowed her to write checks against the homeowners account. She paid the monthly bills, household items, and me from that account as well. As far as I could tell, she was in charge of every decision made. I don't know the details of her relationship with K.H's family. Only that she had known the deceased for over 50 years.
          Last edited by R. Bell; 12-17-2015, 03:24 AM.

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          • #20
            A condition for the job was that I had to move in.

            K.H. was awake usually at night. She roamed the house with a walker checking every room, bathroom and closet. She also screamed "hello" into each room. Every single night. Until the sun rose. These were the hours when she was most prone to falls or accidents. She also attempted to use her stove a few times which concerned her friends and family. So, they asked me if i was interested in working for her.

            The job was supposed to be a very short term job since her health had deteriorated and because she was 95 years old. Her ability to move around her house, using a walker was impressive. But, the accidents were more and more frequent and she would end up laying on the floor until someone showed up. The need to monitor her was genuine.

            I did not search this job out. I was more like specifically chosen probably from the times i had helped her up previously. K.H. allowed no one into her home, so, since she had met me, I was their choice. Thanks for all the help. More coming.

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            • #21
              So if you didn't ask the family for more money, how could you expect them to know you wanted more money?

              That said, you can file a wage claim with the DLSE if you wish, however, that will open you up for problems with the IRS. Your call.

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              • #22
                You should also research whether the board can be counted against wages. There is value in your housing and utilities.

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                • #23
                  Room and board can count toward MW. I honestly have no idea how the DLSE would assign an employer. Certainly this poor woman could not have been your employer. Neither can the family in another country you never met and only had once a year brief phone calls with. Likely it would be this other friend. She should be aware that if you do file, she can be held personally liable for breaking the law and not following IRS regulations. Note this was probably also a violation of federal wage laws and between that and the IRS, penalties can include jail time. Whether they would incarcerate an elderly woman I have no idea, but she should be prepared for some sort of sanctions. She committed more than a few violations.
                  I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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                  • #24
                    Here is a link to a good explanation of federal law related to your situation. http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs79g.htm

                    Your state is much more restrictive than federal law, and you must comply with both.
                    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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                    • #25
                      Agreed with the other answers. Past that there is a hard requirement under FLSA and most states that employees actively try to mitigate problems. Not talking to anyone before this, letting the so-called problem run this long without making any apparent effort to fix and other things mentioned do not sound like mitigation. Plus FLSA has a 2-3 statute of limitations, as do most states.
                      "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
                      Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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                      • #26
                        I did actively tell her that I was doing a completely different job from what we agreed. She acknowledged that every time. There has never been a dispute about how much time was required to care for her. In fact, they would often make statements like "It's only going to get worse" or "I don't know how you do it". No one, including her primary physician, saw her living to be just shy of 100. Also, the person who paid me, referred me to the family for a raise. It would be 2 years before the grandson became available to talk to. He always claimed that it was between me and his mom.(daughter of K.H.)

                        I turned this job down a few times. When no one would work for her or tried to and quit, she would come back to me because she knew i was in the market for a second part time job. Also, K.H. had begun to recognize me since I was routinely having to check on her at night or whenever i got a call requesting me to check on her.

                        This may or may not matter from a legal perspective, but, I am compelled to mention this. K.H. was one of the meanest, most hateful, and hurtful person I have ever known. Ever! Her family, most of all her grandson, despised her and wanted nothing to do with her. She allowed me no visitors and if my daughter came by with my grand children, I could only see them in the garage. She would still open the door from the house to the garage and demand that they leave. I t was a very unpleasant experience and I made so many sacrifices to accommodate her. Should I have quit? Probably. That is what the ones before me did. But, I was moved in, my other job could not make a schedule for me that allowed me to do both. If I quit now, I'm jobless and homeless. So, I continued to stick it out through what I assure you, many would not and did not. I am not exaggerating. She was a bitter, awful woman. Add Dementia to the formula and the nastiness always bubbled over. She once attacked me with her walker as i cleaned her urine from the floor. On another occasion, she entered my room as i slept and attacked me with a fly swatter. I kid you not. From those kinds of incidents came my chronic sleep issues. It's been a month and I still don't sleep for more than a few hours at night.

                        They were never able to hire a relief person to allow me a chance to sleep or to handle personal matters. But i was told they were trying to. so, it was me and only me, 24/7 365. Every single day of the year. I could have walked. what kind of person leaves a little old lady to fend for herself? I am not one who quits because things are difficult. I am a veteran as well. Sorry for the rant, but, I just wanted everyone advising me to know the conditions i dealt with every day and night. It should account for something when evaluating who I am.

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                        • #27
                          Under the law it doesn't matter if she was the most evil person on the planet or Mother Teresa.

                          You had a choice and you chose to stay. Perhaps if you left the family would have been forced to accept she needed round the clock care and moved her into a facility that could take care of her.

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                          • #28
                            The law doesn't change because of the disposition of your employer. If this poor woman was suffering from dementia she likely wasn't in full control. No one forced you to take this job. Or to stay at this job. Or to wait two years to talk to the grandson/his mother. General grumbling about the work is not mitigating damages. The fact that you didn't want to look for another place to live has nothing to do with your situation. You were welcome to look for another job/home, quit, not take this job, keep your old one and look for a different second employer, or any number of other avenues.
                            I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by ElleMD View Post
                              The law doesn't change because of the disposition of your employer. If this poor woman was suffering from dementia she likely wasn't in full control. No one forced you to take this job. Or to stay at this job. Or to wait two years to talk to the grandson/his mother. General grumbling about the work is not mitigating damages. The fact that you didn't want to look for another place to live has nothing to do with your situation. You were welcome to look for another job/home, quit, not take this job, keep your old one and look for a different second employer, or any number of other avenues.
                              Like button.

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                              • #30
                                response

                                You are correct, of course. I could have continued to say no. Or, as you suggested, walk out on her and let some one else deal with it. However, when I originally took the job, the logistics worked. I was able to work both jobs. The problem began when I no longer could do both jobs because of the extra responsabilities. I hope you are not suggesting that I don't feed her because Meals on Wheels stopped bringing her food. Or, when the laundry service no longer took her soiled linens and clothing, washed them and delivered them back to her door, free of charge. I should refuse to handle these things because I wanted to renegotiate the agreement. Those are only a few examples of what I called extra. The time it takes to accomplish such duties is substantial . For one woman I easily put 3-4 loads of laundry.

                                You understand that normally, 24/7 care requires anywhere from 2-6 workers. I was paid to be there from 8:00 at night until 8:00 in the morning. Then I could leave and work my day job. That only lasted for about 3 weeks. I certainly did not anticipate a schedule like the one I ended up with. Quit? This woman needed full time care. Should I not expect to receive the absolute minimum pay the law provides for? I only asked for 12 hour a day pay even though my time usually was 20-22 hrs. Every day. Do you think I am asking for too much?

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