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Fired by family member for refusing to sign illegal document.

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  • Fired by family member for refusing to sign illegal document.

    Hello,
    I have been working for a family member for 35 years. The owner owns another business that required relicensing. However he could not renew his license because he owes the company I work for $200,000.00. He couldn't or wouldn't pay that off. So he came to my office and threw a piece of paper at me that says I owe the company $200,000.00, in order to get his license renewed. I said I'm not signing that, at the time I didn't even know what it was. He insisted on me signing it, without an explanation. I refused, he then told me I am fired. Afterwards, not knowing what I was going to do, as that business is all I know. I went back to him and after a heated conversation I signed the paper.

    I never felt good about it. I felt he bullied me into doing something illegal. But I took it because I didn't feel I had choice. Since then our relationship felt stressed. Fast forward a month or so and he tells me he has to hold my checks for a bit to get the company caught up. Again I was not happy but had no choice. I don't have savings and that put a real financial Burdon on me. I started selling my personal things to survive while this goes on. I kept thinking he will give me my checks soon. Today is month three. Two days ago with no other choice I had to go to him to ask for money, he tells me there is none. The conversation turns heated as I have been working the entire time with no pay. A couple hours later I get a text from him to come clean out my desk.

    To keep it somewhat short I will leave it here. This is a man, that is a known to be a bully and always doing things that would be considered unethical even illegal and always gets away with everything. I'm sure if I wasn't a family member this would be considered highly illegal. I'm just not so sure in a family run business if I have the same rights. I have my whole life invested in that place and would like to know what my recourse could be.

    Thank you
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