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Encouraged to Work "off the books", MI

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  • Encouraged to Work "off the books", MI

    I was recently fired for failing to meet deadlines at my job; our office is perpetually shortstaffed and until October I was typically working 50 or more hours a week to make deadlines (I was an hourly employee).

    In October I was told that they would not be able to authorize any further overtime pay, I responded that I would not be able to meet the multiple monthly deadlines that I faced without working more than forty hours a week. Other employees in my dept took to coming in early but not punching in or working over their lunch hours without pay with my manager's knowledge, if not at her direction. I told my manager that I was not willing to work without pay, and that I was not being given enough time to properly (or even improperly) do my work. She told me that "That's just the way it is."

    This work environment led to me missing three deadlines between Oct and December, for which I was let go. I am currently protesting a denial of unemployment benfits based on my failure to meet these deadlines and am wondering if and how I can introduce the above information into my protest.

    Thank you,

  • #2
    Take them to the Labor Board!

    I don't know what state you are in, but I would bet that you have two clear cases for Retaliation! and you can take them to the labor board for denying you unemployment!

    They can be hit HARD for knowing that the employees are working overtime, unpiad.


    • #3
      The employer does not approve or deny UI benefits.

      Just tell them what you told us. They wanted you to work unpaid in order to meet the deadlines and you refused to do so.
      I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


      • #4
        Get some evidence if you can.

        If what you say is accurate, then I would say that, yes, you should be able to fight denial of unemployment benefits on the grounds that you were refusing to work off-the-clock (which is illegal for employers to allow employees to do). But what would really help you is some evidence to back-up your claim that this was happening. Can you bring in current or former employee to also testify to it? Are there any documents that would support your claim? Showing how your hours worked on your paychecks went from 50 or so to 40 would lend some credence to your story.

        By the way, your co-employees who did work off-the-clock seem to have at least a federal (and maybe a state) wage and hour claim that can be filed with the state department of labor or perhaps a private lawsuit. Perhaps your can use this a leverage. Good luck.
        Posted by Mark Reynolds. Labor and employment attorney.

        Nothing herein should be construed as legal advice. It is for public informational purposes only, does not create an attorney-client relationship, and should not be relied upon in making decisions.


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