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vacation owed? in Texas

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  • vacation owed? in Texas

    I need some advice.
    I'm in TEXAS. I work for a Vetrinarian who 9 months ago bought the hospital I've worked at for 4 years prior. At the time of purchase he stated that all the company procedures would stay the same. 9 months later At the end of the year he was to purchase our excess unused vacation from all the employees. Because i have worked for the company longer I aquire vacation at a different rate than the other employees. Upon bringing this to his attention and showing him a copy of the agreement in the company employee handbook he stated that that was an agreement with the past owner and not with him. I then asked him then i guess i'm just jipped out of my 4.5 days of vacation and he stated "I guess you can look at it that way!" Do I have any recorse to get paid for this. I'm still employed but eager to look for another employer.

  • #2
    Although I don't necessarily agree with the way the new owner handled this situation, it is true that the handbook was issued by the previous employer and even so, policies in handbooks very seldom rise to the level of a bona fide contract.

    In any case, there is no law that requires the employer to "purchase" vacation, short of an employment contract that states they will. Even payout of accrued vacation at termination in Texas is predicated on whether or not the company had a policy to do so. With this being a new owner, it would be a toss-up as to whether the state would deem this a legal requirement at termination either.
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    • #3
      The owner stated he wanted to buy us out so we dont carry any vacation over to the new year. But upon getting my check I found that he cheated me 4.5 days. The employee handbook states the company name not the owner and he stated at the very beginning to all employees that all procedures and policys and pay would NOT change. After all this i went back and double checked my stubbs and i also see that since he took over he's also cheated me $50 dollars and every paycheck - I am the office manager and was recieving a managerial bonus of 50/pay period. thats 19 x $50 + the 4.5 vacation days. I am still employed with this company and feel ready to move on but not if it costs me $.
      any ideas what to do?


      • #4
        The Texas Workforce Commission would likely not take this claim, since the policy had nothing to do with vacation payout at termination. You can take the handbook and any documentation you may have to an attorney to see if you have a breach of contract case, but I would not be optimistic.
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


        • #5
          For some reason I feel your fixated on me being terminated or unemployed with this company. I AM STILL EMPLOYED THERE! My boss bought everyone elses vacation from them on dec 31st yet he didnt with me saying I dont get that much. Even though he has never notified us employees about a change in pay or vacation benifits. Doesnt he have to give written notice before he reduces the pay on an individual? If so he never did this. I believe my boss doesn't know that he has done anything wrong and i believe he has a "my way or the highway" attitude. I went to him and he says "oh well" then acts as if nothing was said. He has seriosly treated me differently than the other employees. I feel that he has changed the rules to fit his needs and to hell with me. I believe i should have some recorse since I have not done anything wrong to deserve this. He has stated in the past on many occations that I am the most expensive empolyee he has EVER had and it makes me feel that he's trying to get me to quit so he wont have to pay unemployment. Thank you for any insite.


          • #6
            Exactly my point. I'm not fixated on anything. What I was trying to make clear was that Texas doesn't care because you AREN'T terminated. If you were, they might. My answer doesn't change, however. If anything, it's possible that it might be a breach of contract, but that's the only possibility and it's a long shot.

            You've now added more information to your original post. Regarding benefits, there is no law that requires advance notification of a change. I'm not saying they shouldn't, I'm just saying it's not generally a violation of any law if they don't. Regarding pay, Texas does require advance notification of a decrease in pay; in other words, you must be advised of the decrease before you work the hours at the lower rate; otherwise the previous rate would be in effect for those hours.

            Regarding your being treated "differently", again, generally speaking, unless the disparate treatment is SOLELY because of a legally protected characteristic such as race, age, gender, ethnicity, religion, etc., there is no discriminatory violation for which you would have any legal recourse.

            You sound unhappy with the change and I'm not saying I would blame you if you were. It's not illegal for a boss to be unprofessional, a poor manager, or rude. Maybe it IS time for you to seek the highway.

            Good luck.
            I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


            • #7
              I do appreciate what you have explained to me. I didn't mean to sound rude and I do apologize. I think my problem is that i trusted him to treat me the way he promised to. Then 9 months later i find that he's been dissing me the whole time. I'm very dissapointed and unhappy with what he's done to me and quite frankly i want to make him pay. I will be contacting a lawyer on monday to see if there is anything i can do. again thank you.


              • #8
                Apology accepted. Just don't get your hopes up.
                I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


                • #9
                  If not too late to weigh in--

                  An attorney is your option. And, maybe your best one. The Texas Payday Rules Sec 821.25 (c) provide that:
                  "...the sale of a business is a termination of employment with all the employer's employees. At the time of termination, the employer becomes liable for the payment of vacation pay, holiday pay, ..., if owed pursuant to a written agreement or written policy between the employer and its employees."

                  Based on this, if you have a valid claim for accrued vacation, it would be with the former employer. The Texas Payday Law requires that claims be filed within 6 months of the due date of wages, so a claim there would not be timely.

                  If the new owner (current employer) has a written policy, that would control. If that rises to the level of a contract, your attorney may be able to obtain something, but it would not be through enforcement of any Texas labor law.

                  Patty is precisely correct. Your accrued vacation time with the current employer is not due to you, since you are currently employed. If your employer agreed to indemnify you for the debt of the former employer, that may be a contract, and would require resolution.

                  While you may want to "make him pay", the guy is obligated to pay you for time worked, and anything else covered in a written policy. You're in an industry that is notoriously low-paying, and high turnover. If you're working at a premium, your employer may very well be willing to let you go, especially if you've engaged in a pissing contest with him.


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