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Gardenerx2

Sly boss, multiple policy changes without notice

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Hello,

 

I'm writing on behalf of my husband.

 

Issue #1: Vacation policy change without notice

 

My husband has been working at the same company for over eight years, but three years ago the original business owner sold it to an employee (my husband's functional doppelganger). Apparently, when the new owner took over he changed the vacation policy without notice. My husband should have been able to take ten paid vacation days off per the original business owner's policy regarding an employee of 5 or more years but when the new guy bought the business, he "reset" the vacation time and made my husband an employee of zero years. This does make sense to me because my husband was, in fact, a new employee under the new owner. What doesn't make sense is the fact that he did this without notice or discussion. My understanding is that this change of policy is recorded in the legal / business documents hidden away in the new owner's office but my husband has not seen them himself nor has he been given a copy. He found out about it last week when he asked for time off even though the change apparently occurred three years ago. It feels like a gyp and for all we know, his boss could be bluffing (we have yet to see any proof of a policy change). I don't expect my husband will receive any compensation apart from a document stating a change of policy three years too late but it would be helpful to know whether we can actually confront him from a position of legal strength.

 

Lest you think I'm a sourpuss:

 

Issue #2: New employee is paid in time off so the boss doesn't have to give him time-and-a-half in overtime pay

 

Rather than paying time-and-a-half for overtime, the boss lets this new employee of one year (a personal friend of his) use his overtime hours as vacation hours. This is a gentleman's agreement between the boss and new guy that both are happy with. As a result, new guy is allowed to work whenever he wants for as long as he wants and simply report when he will be taking time off. He has taken many days off this year - more than the five paid days off my husband is allowed. If you put your head in your arse and think about it, it makes perfect sense: if the guy works extra hours he should be compensated, and if the two men agree upon the method of pay it shouldn't bother anyone else. My head is not in my arse and I don't think it's justifiable. It is unfair to my husband because (a) as the seasoned, long-time manager of the business, he has to pick up the slack when new guy is gone and correct the daily mistakes he makes (a petulant reason but there it is), (b) he isn't given the opportunity for overtime because it is a financial bother for the boss, (c) he just learned his vacation days were "reset" while the new guy is given the opportunity to earn vacation days and my husband is not, (e) the new guy is essentially the replacement for the position the boss vacated when he became the boss and is my husband's new functional doppelganger, which includes same pay and job description as my husband when he started 8+ years ago, and (d) it is so incredibly unethical. I'd love to know if we have a case on this issue.

 

Finally, one situation we probably can't argue with any strength but illustrates how sly the employer is:

 

Issue #3: Hourly wages during the "off-season", salary during the busy season, back to hourly when business slows down

 

The busy season runs from March to August. My husband worked 50-60 hours each week the first year the new boss owned the company and was compensated via time-and-a-half overtime pay. The boss tried a different scheme the following year. Rather than keep my husband at hourly pay, he worked out a yearly salary based on the hourly rate of pay, but the pay was not increased. At the start of March, he announced that my husband was on salary and would be expected to work as many hours as were necessary during the busy season for the same pay rate. He promised bonuses (a little bit of sugar helps the medicine go down) which amounted to a whopping $200 for the entire six-month period. My husband worked the 50-60 hours per week as required and when August came around, the boss announced the new salary system "wasn't working" and reverted back to hourly pay. Naturally we were furious. To top it off, the boss began building a $500,000 house that summer while we were drowning in car repairs. It is my understanding that this is illegal now (thanks, Obama) but I am eager to know if it was illegal at the time. 

 

 

Thank you for your time and patience. We are very frustrated. My husband did quit once but the business tanked and customers came in specifically asking for him. Some of them said they would take their business wherever he had moved on to but he signed a non-compete agreement at the start of his employment 8+ years ago. Enough customers complained about the business in his absence that the boss asked him to come back. He doesn't push back when the boss takes advantage of him because he doesn't know whether he has any true legal strength to push back with. Please advise, especially regarding Issue #1, as it is the most recent and urgent. 

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1. Totally legal. Vacation is not required by law so it is entirely up to the company to decide how much they want to offer.

 

2. Most likely legal. Particularly if this guy is exempt (does not earn overtime- very likely if he is a manager), when he works is between he and his boss. If the boss wants to be more flexible in granting time off to his friend, it is unfair but legal.

 

3. If your husband is a manager it is entirely legal to pay him a set salary regardless of hours worked. It is and always (in our lifetimes at any rate) has been legal. The recent changes to the FLSA set the minimum salary at a higher rate, but that doesn't take effect until December 1. In any case, if the boss has decided to pay everyone now as hourly with OT due as worked, that doesn't matter. It is always legal to pay an employee who qualifies as exempt as non-exempt, just not the reverse.

 

If you husband is unhappy there, he is welcome to find employment elsewhere.

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Hi @Gardenerx2

 

Welcome to the community and thanks for posting! Looks like you've gotten some good input from the community. Unfortunately, when a person's employer is acquired by another company, once can expect many changes, not all of which are welcome. If you and your husband believe that his employer is acting in illegal way, you may wish to consult with an employment attorney to discuss his likelihood of success in a lawsuit against his employer.

 

Best of luck!

The FindLaw.com Team

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