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Thread: Wife and myself working as innkeeper. New York

  1. #1
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    Default Wife and myself working as innkeeper. New York

    My wife and I started working as resident innkeepes at a small inn. At first my wife was the main "innkeeper" and I was teaching. During the summer I decided that I didn't want to teach and I took over as main innkeeper and we'll be switching everything into my name. The job is a lot of work anf the owners hired us "as a couple" on purpose. They always hire married people and have one spouse be on the books and the other one to help out. My wife started to work at a payroll company and is learning a lot about labor laws and is concerned about the legality of the situation. We make about 47000 a year minus rent and we are always on call. (Even while we sleep) I should mention I do not mind it and don't really see a problem but my wife is really torn up about it. Any ideas on this? Thank you.

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    Your wife is right. The law dictates that if you are both working for your employer, then you both must be on the payroll. If you are both working for your employer and only one of you is on the payroll, then your employer (not you) is violating the law.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eerelations View Post
    Your wife is right. The law dictates that if you are both working for your employer, then you both must be on the payroll. If you are both working for your employer and only one of you is on the payroll, then your employer (not you) is violating the law.
    Thanks for the reply, what could be done about it? I don't really want to take any legal action because I don't want to create bad blood because They are good and nice people but I want to make sure I'm giving my wife piece of mind. I would prefer to somehow have a conversation with them but one of the owners is actually a lawyer and I'm afraid I'll make this work relationship very tense.

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    Your only legal recourse is to either quit, or file a claim with your state or federal DOL. Your jobs are protected for doing this.

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    do the owners know about the "switch" of employees and the fact that you quit your teaching job and she started a different job? Have they switched over who they pay (under what SSN, for example)? I am a bit confused on whether the 2nd person is helping out with the knowledge of just the 1st person or also the knowledge of the owners? You say you "will be switching"...have you confirmed any of this with the owners or is this just a decision you and your wife have made?

    now is the time to go back to the owners and let them know how much the 2nd person is helping out so that they acknowledge the second person is in fact working for them with their knowledge. They may notify you all that the 2nd person should do NO work rather than paying for a second person and terminate you both if they find out that the 2nd person is indeed doing so without their hiring them to do so. I agree it's illegal to volunteer, but I put some onus on the actual employee to not let the 2nd person do so without the knowledge of the owners.

    While they may possibly always hire a couple, that doesn't always mean they are trying to get two for one. It could just mean that their inn is more marketable with a couple living there. I know as a woman, I wouldn't stay at an inn that was run by a single man for instance, unless his wife also lived there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hr for me View Post
    do the owners know about the "switch" of employees and the fact that you quit your teaching job and she started a different job? Have they switched over who they pay (under what SSN, for example)? I am a bit confused on whether the 2nd person is helping out with the knowledge of just the 1st person or also the knowledge of the owners? You say you "will be switching"...have you confirmed any of this with the owners or is this just a decision you and your wife have made?

    now is the time to go back to the owners and let them know how much the 2nd person is helping out so that they acknowledge the second person is in fact working for them with their knowledge. They may notify you all that the 2nd person should do NO work rather than paying for a second person and terminate you both if they find out that the 2nd person is indeed doing so without their hiring them to do so. I agree it's illegal to volunteer, but I put some onus on the actual employee to not let the 2nd person do so without the knowledge of the owners.

    While they may possibly always hire a couple, that doesn't always mean they are trying to get two for one. It could just mean that their inn is more marketable with a couple living there. I know as a woman, I wouldn't stay at an inn that was run by a single man for instance, unless his wife also lived there.

    Sorry for the confusion, they do hire employees with the idea that there will be a main innkeeper and that the spouse will help, they stated it right in our interview. (They interviewed us together) Before the switch ever took place
    We not only told them, but asked for permission, which they gave. Right now the employment papers are still under my wife and I have pretty much taken over. They specifically hire couples because they feel that it is too much work for one person.

    The reason it concerns my wife is because we have employees that we hire. And besides when they are on we have to be here and can't really leave. They expect us to stay dressed professionally until we close the front desk at 11 pm. I personally like staying home and "making my own hours" which is kind of how this job operates, especially after the stress of teaching. But it is hard to ignore the extreme constrictions the owners are putting on our life.

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    Just because they tend to do this doesn't mean it's legal. Just because they spoke about doing this in the interview doesn't mean it's legal. Just because you are allowed to set your own hours doesn't mean it's legal. Just because you asked for permission for both of you to work as one employee doesn't mean it's legal. - is your wife beingIt's illegal.

    But I don't understand, what do you mean that your wife is concerned because "we have employees that we hire" - is your wife also hiring two-for-ones? If yes, and she's doing this at the owners' direction, then she is not culpable. If this ever comes to the attention of the DOL (and it will even if you personally don't file a complaint, if your employer has multiple situations like yours going on, someone's bound to complain sooner or later), it will be the owners who will be held accountable for this illegal practice of theirs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eerelations View Post
    Just because they tend to do this doesn't mean it's legal. Just because they spoke about doing this in the interview doesn't mean it's legal. Just because you are allowed to set your own hours doesn't mean it's legal. Just because you asked for permission for both of you to work as one employee doesn't mean it's legal. - is your wife beingIt's illegal.

    But I don't understand, what do you mean that your wife is concerned because "we have employees that we hire" - is your wife also hiring two-for-ones? If yes, and she's doing this at the owners' direction, then she is not culpable. If this ever comes to the attention of the DOL (and it will even if you personally don't file a complaint, if your employer has multiple situations like yours going on, someone's bound to complain sooner or later), it will be the owners who will be held accountable for this illegal practice of theirs.

    I apologize, one of the reasons she's unhappy is that we can't leave unless the employees, that we hire, are on. We do not hire two for ones. We hire hourly employees.

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    So you can't both leave the inn unless one of your employees is at work there? That's a perfectly reasonable expectation, not illegal, and really nothing to do with your situation. If the owners at some point see the legal light (probably via a court order) and you are both placed on the payroll, the owners will still probably require at least one of you to be present at the inn unless you can arrange for one or more of your employees to cover for you. And that will be perfectly legal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eerelations View Post
    So you can't both leave the inn unless one of your employees is at work there? That's a perfectly reasonable expectation, not illegal, and really nothing to do with your situation. If the owners at some point see the legal light (probably via a court order) and you are both placed on the payroll, the owners will still probably require at least one of you to be present at the inn unless you can arrange for one or more of your employees to cover for you. And that will be perfectly legal.
    I know, i didn't mean to insinuate that it was illegal I guess I was just expressing frustration of how constrictive it is on top of being concerned about the legality. I apologize for not being terribly clear.
    Last edited by Emptyhanded; 07-09-2017 at 09:04 AM.

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    So you actually have two separate questions going on here:

    1. Is it legal for your employer to require you to have one or more of your employees cover for you when you leave the workplace?

    2. Is it legal for your employer to pay you and your wife as one person?

    And the answers are:

    1. Yes, it's perfectly legal. In fact, it's not only legal but very reasonable (and not at all "constrictive") - I can't imagine an employer anywhere that would allow its employees to leave their workplaces unmanned entirely, even if only for an hour or two.

    2. No, this is completely illegal. However, if you want this to change, your course of action is to file a complaint with your state or the federal DOL. It won't change if you don't file that complaint. And please understand that if you do manage to get this situation changed, it won't have any effect on issue number 1.

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