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Signed Business Agreement Alabama Alabama

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  • Signed Business Agreement Alabama Alabama

    First time posting and long story, please bear with me.

    I live in Alabama. I was recruited, by a firm based in Atlanta, to enter into an employment agreement with a medical transcription outfit based in New Jersey to do home-based medical transcription. I did so. The work is sent over the internet. The program is quite advanced, and is downloaded onto our home PCs, or the company provides you with a PC if you do not have one. I do Level 3 acute care work (which entitles me to a $2000 sign on bonus, split between 3 months and 6 months after I hire on), which is even more advanced than most, and requires a longer training period on the program to get up to "full speed." I started work on 3/28/2006.

    The first 3 weeks of employment, we are in training on this advanced computer program. Therefore, according to the signed employment agreement, we are guaranteed $10/hour or our production rate, whichever is higher. The production rate is the number of lines we produce, divided by the number of hours we work. We are expected to work 40 hours/week. When we reach "full speed", we are expected to produce a minimum of 150 lines/hour, 1200 or more lines/day. However, the company tell us up front that it will take us approximately 3 months to reach "full speed" at Level 3. The first 3 week incentive to stay is the guaranteed $10/hour.

    During my first 3 weeks, while making the guaranteed $10/hour, per my signed agreement, there was a computer glitch on the company's part, and I experienced 5 hours of downtime through no fault of my own, and was told by my supervisor that I would receive the 5 hours of pay. Also, at one day short of 4 weeks with the company, my company-provided footpedal broke. The company sent out footpedals to a number of employees with similar names to mine, but it took them four days to get one to me, and I had 21 hours of downtime, again through no fault of my own. I was guaranteed downtime pay for my 21 hours.

    Prior to my start date, and per the benefits materials I had been sent, I attempted to establish what is called a "benefit rate" with my supervisor, as instructed. I have an extensive e-mail trail to prove this, which includes contacting my recruiter about it, as well. My supervisor was unable to get into the necessary computer system to do so, told me this via e-mail, apologized, contacted her supervisor, and then never got back to me about it. A benefit rate is the rate of pay for downtime, paid time off, etc.

    I received a paycheck for the downtime for the 21 hours. The company paid me $6.43/hour instead of $10.00/hour. I have been going back and forth since April 27th on this issue with my supervisor, her supervisor and my recruiter. I have received about 10 different answers. Payroll refuses to deal with me, but only goes through these supervisors, who then have to let me know Payroll and HR's responses. Not one of my paychecks have been correct to date for various reasons. I have yet to be paid for the original 5 hours of downtime.

    The reasoning now is that the policy changed a few weeks ago. HR has REMOVED the policy that was in effect when I hired in from the company website. They have made this "new" policy effective January 1, 2006 (not revised it) when, in fact, it was NOT effective January 1, 2006, since I am in possession of, both via e-mail and in print, from the company itself as well as from the recruitment firm, the policy that was in effect when I hired in on 3/28/2006. As a matter of fact, even the "new" policy states that if a benefit rate has not been established, the employee shall be paid $10.00/hour for downtime as a result of company owned equipment malfunction.

    Payroll and HR state that I established a periodic production rate the first week I worked. That is impossible. My periodic production rate for the first week I worked would have been about 50 cents/hour or less. That is why we are GUARANTEED $10/hour via a signed agreement. Why would anyone work for their production rate from day one when they are training on a system they are just learning to use? After a year, we make anywhere from $17 to $20/hour or more. Who would lock into their original production rate? Why would this company's own information they send out to new hires tell them to establish a benefit rate up front in case they have downtime if that does not even apply? This is insane.

    Payroll tells my supervisor and her supervisor that they would have only paid me about $5/hour for my downtime if it had been up to them (I have that on e-mail) but their computer kicked it up to $6.43 because of my production. What kind of bologna is that? Since when does having already paid me $10/hour under a signed agreement mean they can now decide to pay me less during the same time period because they LATER changed their policy and want to make it retroactive?

    If I quit this job over not being paid what I am owed, can I file for unemployment? This company messed me up royally once already by reporting to the unemployment office that I started work on 3/16/2006 when I obviously did not. Now my pay is affected. I don't think I want to keep working for them, but I need an income and they are seriously affecting it. Do I have to get an attorney to get my rightful pay?

    Thank you for any advice you can afford.
    Kathryn Brown
    Junior Member
    Last edited by Kathryn Brown; 05-31-2006, 06:00 PM.
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