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Flamingo1

Pay deductions by property management employer

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I clean vacation rentals on the coast of NC for a property managment company. I am paid per-unit at a rate arbitrarily determined by them. This winter, even though nothing is different other than the number of units being rented this time of year is less, she has decided she will pay me less per unit for not reason other than it is "off season'. Right now, she is paying me $18.00 to clean a unit that takes me about 3 hours to clean. They tell me which units to clean, when to clean them and exactly how to clean them. They provide the cleaning supplies.

The woman who owns the property managment company keeps taking money from my pay for ridiculous things like: $3.50 because a towel was folded wrong, $2.00 for having the wrong color towel (even though her business partner tried to tell her I did what she told me to do. She told her partner to shut up). She will take 7-10 pictures of the same set of towels to "show" me what I did wrong, and then take money from my pay to cover the cost of the pictures. She said I am required to put her company's magnetic sign on my car 24/7, and said that if it gets stolen or anything happens to it, she will deduct the cost of the sign from my pay.

There is no discussion on the deductions. I get my check from her and it has a list of the deductions written on the voucher.

She also goes to each unti before assigning it to me, and strips the beds. I suspect that she is doing this so she can take the tips that the customers leave for me when I've been doing the housekeeping during their stay, because the only time I get tips is when a customer gives it to me when I go to clean the last time during their stay and actually see the customer face to face. I know I do a good job because customers tell me so.

She also manages the property that I rent and live in, and threatens to cancel my lease if I don't do as she says.

1) I think the situation indicates that I am actually an employee, rather than a contractor. We have no contract beween us and no terms have been discussed. She just makes all the decisions.

2) Can she deduct from my pay for things like towels folded wrong and pictures to show me what she thinks I've done wrong?

Thanks for any guidance you can give me.

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1) I think the situation indicates that I am actually an employee, rather than a contractor. We have no contract beween us and no terms have been discussed. She just makes all the decisions.

You may want to visit the Employment Law Center and read Contractor or Employee to learn more about this subject matter. For clarification on your specific employment situation, I suggest you contact the North Carolina Department of Labor: Wage & Hour Bureau to address your concerns.

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An employer isn't entitled to a fining system as you describe (she's free to discipline such as fire, suspend without pay, etc.). An employer's free to change your rate of pay on a whim going forward, so long as you're paid minimum wage.

I'd discuss with nearest federal DOL wage-hour division office (google that phrase).

"Right now, she is paying me $18.00 to clean a unit that takes me about 3 hours to clean."

And I'd say "see ya!".

"She also manages the property that I rent and live in, and threatens to cancel my lease if I don't do as she says."

You don't say what type of lease you have -- it's good that you have one. I'd feel free to file a petition against her in local landlord-tenant court for retaliation if she does such a thing. Obviously, if you're a monthly tenant, I'd expect her to give you a notice to vacate (I believe NC will be 30 days) if things come to a head.

"We have no contract beween us and no terms have been discussed."

Well, you do have a contract at-will, but employer gets to decide terms (so long as min. wage is paid).

"Can she deduct from my pay for things like towels folded wrong and pictures to show me what she thinks I've done wrong?"

She HAS done this, so "can" question is moot; there is something you can do about it. See starter comments.

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