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California-HELP-My employer and my income tax refund

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  • California-HELP-My employer and my income tax refund

    Hi everyone,

    I did not promise, either in verbal or written, to give my income tax refund to my employer. Now they terminated my employment and demanding me to give them my fed&State income tax refund. Otherwise, they will not pay my last pay check and will not pay my relocation and will not my severance pay.

    Is it legal for my employer to do that ?

    What can I do to protect myself ?

    Regards and please help,
    Dang Nguyen

  • #2
    I don't understand why the employer had an expectation that you would give them your income tax refunds. There must be a lot more to this story.

    No, the employer cannot withhold your last paycheck.

    The relocation expenses and severance pay must appear in some offer letter or other agreement you signed with the employer and you need to look there first.
    Senior Professional in Human Resources and Certified Staffing Professional with over 30 years experience. Any advice provided is based upon experience and education, but does not constitute legal advice.


    • #3
      Thank you Scott, for helping.

      My trouble is they sent me to work "oversea" and demand me to give them my "income tax refund" before they would buy me an air ticket to go home (Cali, USA) - I am stuck - so I have to find my own way to go home.

      There are nothing else tied up to my post as it is plainly just that.

      I don't expect the employer for "merciful", but I need to know how to "react to their demanding"

      Dang Nguyen


      • #4
        See an attorney regarding the tax issue; did you have a tax equalization program with this employer?

        Regarding your pay, you can file a claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. Are you home now?
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


        • #5
          Take your time on this one. In California, if your employer doesn't pay you what is due after you quit or are fired, they owe you a day's pay, up to 30 days worth for each day they don't pay you. The law also provides for attorney's fees to collect the pay and penalties.

          An employer who willfully fails to pay any wages due an employee who is discharged or quits within the time frames provided under Labor Code § 201 or Labor Code § 202, may be assessed continuing wages as a penalty from the date the wages were due up to a maximum of 30 days. (Labor Code § 203)
          I used this on one employer. I made my initial demand for payment, then waited 30 days. They paid the back pay ($150) AND an additional $5k for the penalty.

          I am not an attorney, and don't play one on TV. Any information given is a description only and should be verified by your attorney.


          • #6
            So, what do you want from us?
            I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


            • #7
              Hi everyone,

              Thank you for kindly help and I appology for some of the "double post"

              Pattymd, this is first time I heard about "tax equalization program" and I don't recall that if I've ever sign any document or seen this on company policy.

              No, I am not at home yet until the end of this month (Sept)

              Thank you Alice for your advice on the unpaid. I will follow yours.

              There are few questions that I need help:

              1) The employer "paid my relocation" to sent me to oversea to develop the new factory for them. After I completed my mission for the employer, by law, does the employer have a responsibility to "pay my relocation to go home" ? The agreement that I signed before I took on the mission to work oversea did not state anything about "relocation for business purpose"; However, it said that "employer will take care of my suitable housing and transportation"

              2) Does anyone know any good lawyer in California that can help me to handle this tax issue and other issues ?

              3) Right now I have to use my right to remain silent. I meant I don't say yes and don't say no to their demanding on my income tax refund. If I say NO, they would make the situation very complicate for me to go home safe and sound. I was thinking about calling American Embassy in Vietnam for help, and I don't know if it works?

              4) By law, do I have to sign any document(s) with employer, before I have time to read and understand, and/or consult my legal advisor ? If there is, please show me the link or post it on the forum so that I can use.

              5) By law, do I have a right to "record the telephone conversation" when the employer call me and demand for my tax refund ?

              My story might be "unbelievable" to everyone, but this employer is a foreign company owned by Japanese. It's "very normal" when they treat their employees in their factories at the third-world countries this way, so they applying the same to me (I am American Citizen and was hired in USA). Can someone please help me with the International Labor Law from ILO ?

              Dang Nguyen


              • #8
                1. Generally speaking, there is no law that requires a private employer to relocate you to the states when your overseas assignment is completed. However, I worked 10 years for an international oil drilling company and we always did so at the company's expense (unless the employee quit without extenuating circumstances present). ElleMD? Did your agreement not state the company would do so? Boy, I wouldn't have agreed to such an assignment unless I had this in writing.

                2. It is against the rules of this board to refer attorneys, and no decent attorney would troll these types of sites for clients. You can contact the local chapter of the American Bar Association for a referral to an attorney versed in this type of issue. A small fee is charged, but at least you can get some advise as to whether or not you have any type of case.

                3. It can't hurt to contact the Embassy. I understand they've come a long way in the past few years.

                4. For most types of documents, (there is at least one exception), legally, no there is no law that permits you to hold off on signing an agreement. However, it is a terrible business practice for the employer to "make" you sign any type of agreement regarding such important issues without giving you time to have the document reviewed by an attorney. What types of agreements are we talking about here, and what is the employer saying will be the consequence of your not signing immediately?

                5. Tax equalization programs are designed to "keep the employee whole" while on foreign assignment; in other words, to ensure that the employee does not pay any more (or less) taxes to the U.S. (and the resident state, if applicable) than he would otherwise owe if he were performing the same services in the U.S. I would think you would remember being informed of such a benefit if the employer was providing it. Short of such an agreement, the employer has no legal right to demand your refund checks. What are they saying will happen if you do not turn them over?

                6. I'm sorry, I know nothing about the ILO. Here's their website, but I'm not sure they have any jurisdiction over anything that has occurred here, since you are working for a U.S. employer (although VietNam is a member country).

                Bottom line here, I guess, is that you try to get back to the U.S. as soon as possible, in any way you can. Then contact an attorney for further assistance.
                I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


                • #9
                  Thank you Pattymd, for your advice.

                  Dang Nguyen


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