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Beth

W4 exception, fired because employer will not honor my except status

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My daughter filed except from payroll taxes on her W4 and employer will not do that and fired her because of it. She texted messaged her the reason why she was fired. She has 4. Children, single.

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At will employment means that she could be fired for any reason or no reason as long as it didn't violate any anti-discrimination.

 

My guess is that attempting to file as completely exempt from withholding (nobody is) was considered tax fraud by the employer (doesn't matter if it was or wasn't, the employer's perception is what counts) who became convinced that she was an unreliable employee.

 

She has no recourse.

 

She should file for unemployment compensation ASAP and hope that the employer doesn't challenge on the basis of misconduct.

 

When she finds another job, urge her not to play fast and loose with the W-4. At best she can claim 5 exemptions: herself and the 4 children.

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10 minutes ago, PayrollHRGuy said:

I assume you mean 'exempt'?

 

I know of no law that would ban an employer from firing an employee for that.

 

How much does your daughter make per year.  Single and 4 likely would have the same effect on withheld amount. 

Probably 6,000 this year. Employer says she can not file exempt.  Employer had her at 2 exemptions. How can an employer just do that? And sent her a text as this is why she fired her. She has always filed exempt and has always got taxes back.

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15 minutes ago, adjusterjack said:

At will employment means that she could be fired for any reason or no reason as long as it didn't violate any anti-discrimination.

 

My guess is that attempting to file as completely exempt from withholding (nobody is) was considered tax fraud by the employer (doesn't matter if it was or wasn't, the employer's perception is what counts) who became convinced that she was an unreliable employee.

 

She has no recourse.

 

She should file for unemployment compensation ASAP and hope that the employer doesn't challenge on the basis of misconduct.

 

When she finds another job, urge her not to play fast and loose with the W-4. At best she can claim 5 exemptions: herself and the 4 children.

You make no logical sense!

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Her employer did nothing illegal. If your daughter is under the impression that she can sue the employer or force him somehow to rehire her, she is wrong.

 

Even if the employer is mistaken about her status, he still did nothing illegal.

 

She should file for unemployment and look for another job.

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59 minutes ago, Beth said:

She has always filed exempt

 

With this employer and suddenly he's firing her over it? Or with other employers and she just assumed that the current one would be OK with?

 

And why fire her for it? Why not just hand it back and ask her to fix it? Did something else happen that you aren't telling?

 

59 minutes ago, Beth said:

Probably 6,000 this year.

 

$6000 a year?  That's $500 a month. What kind of job was this? Hardly worth walking out the door for. Does she have another source of income?

 

59 minutes ago, Beth said:

How can an employer just do that?

 

The how is explained by the did.

 

58 minutes ago, Beth said:

You make no logical sense!

 

I make no sense? :wacko:

 

 

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4 hours ago, Beth said:

My daughter filed except from payroll taxes on her W4 and employer will not do that and fired her because of it. She texted messaged her the reason why she was fired. She has 4. Children, single.

 

I suspect there is more to this than you've stated. I cannot see an employer firing her solely for claiming exempt on the W-4. She's entitled to claim exempt on a Form W-4 per the W-4 instructions as follows:
 

Quote

 

Exemption from withholding. You may claim exemption from withholding for 2019 if both of the following apply.

• For 2018 you had a right to a refund of all federal income tax withheld because you had no tax liability, and

• For 2019 you expect a refund of all federal income tax withheld because you expect to have no tax liability.

 

 

That said, her problem is that the rule for private (non government) employment is that an employer may fire an employee for any reason except for a relatively few reasons that are prohibited by law. There is no law that prohibits an employer from firing an employee for claiming exempt on the Form W-4. As a result, it was not illegal for the employer to fire her over it. It was stupid, to be sure, but not illegal. If the employer is that clueless, she's probably better off not working there anyway. In any event, all she can do now is look for another job.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Tax_Counsel said:

 

I suspect there is more to this than you've stated. I cannot see an employer firing her solely for claiming exempt on the W-4. She's entitled to claim exempt on a Form W-4 per the W-4 instructions as follows:
 

 

That said, her problem is that the rule for private (non government) employment is that an employer may fire an employee for any reason except for a relatively few reasons that are prohibited by law. There is no law that prohibits an employer from firing an employee for claiming exempt on the Form W-4. As a result, it was not illegal for the employer to fire her over it. It was stupid, to be sure, but not illegal. If the employer is that clueless, she's probably better off not working there anyway. In any event, all she can do now is look for another job.

 

 

The employer did not honor her w4 and took taxes out anyhows. She changed it. And yes all that applies for 2018 n 2019.

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1 minute ago, Beth said:

The employer did not honor her w4 and took taxes out anyhows.

 

That's a whole different story than you have been telling.

 

What's the real reason she was fired?

 

Since the employer took the withholding anyway, I find it hard to imagine that it went like this: "You can't claim exempt, you're fired."

 

There has to have been some interval of time between her filling out the W-4, the withholding of the taxes for at least one pay period (maybe more) and getting fired. What happened during that interval?

 

 

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She noticed what the employer did. And told the employer they took out federal taxes anyhows. Employer said she would look into it. Employer told her she could not do file exempt.

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Just now, Beth said:

She noticed what the employer did. And told the employer they took out federal taxes anyhows. Employer said she would look into it. Employer told her she could not do file exempt.

She worked there 3 months

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7 hours ago, adjusterjack said:

You seem to be avoiding the question about the real reason she got fired after just 3 months.

 

Maybe you don't know. Maybe your daughter didn't tell you the real reason.

 

At any rate, not much more we can do for you here.

 

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15 hours ago, Beth said:

How can an employer just do that? 

 

The appeals court just ruled it is acceptable to fire an

employee if they travel to Africa and they "might" contract

Ebola - the courts exact response was " the law permits

employers to fire an employee “for a good reason, a

bad reason, a reason based on erroneous facts, or

for no reason at all” as long as the reason is not

discriminatory." Suspected tax fraud is as good as 

a reason as any other these days..

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1 hour ago, Auron said:

the courts exact response was " the law permits

employers to fire an employee “for a good reason, a

bad reason, a reason based on erroneous facts, or

for no reason at all” as long as the reason is not

discriminatory."

 

Yes, the court did say that but it's only part of the quote and that's not what the case was about. The case hinged on whether the employee was discriminated against under anti-discrimination laws regarding disability. The court found that she wasn't disabled when she was fired and the rest of her allegations fell apart as well.

 

The full comment of the court provides more insight:

 

"At the end of the day, we need not, and do not, weigh in on whether it was unfair or misguided for Massage Envy to fire Lowe after she refused to cancel her trip to Ghana. As we have repeatedly and emphatically held, "[a]n employer may fire an employee for a good reason, a bad reason, a reason based on erroneous facts, or for no reason at all, as long as its action is not for a discriminatory reason" contrary to federal law."

 

The decision is very interesting:

 

https://www.leagle.com/decision/infco20190912060

 

By the way, that's a Florida case.

 

There may be state laws on wrongful termination that apply in Michigan, but most likely not of any help to the OP's daughter.

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4 hours ago, adjusterjack said:

 

So is disobeying your employer even when he is wrong.

 

Nice... except my situation is actually discriminatory. But i was

only using the Florida case as an example because the court

was showing that even a wrongful termination based on a non-

discriminatory reason tends to side with the employer... despite

him being 'morally wrong' in his reasoning. There may even be an

illegal act in him the changing the W4 after it being signed,

but that will do nothing for her employment situation at the

moment, or at least reading Michigan law, not that i can see. 

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6 hours ago, Auron said:

There may even be an illegal act in him the changing the W4 after it being signed, but that will do nothing for her employment situation at the moment, or at least reading Michigan law, not that i can see. 

 

The employer didn't change the W-4. The employer ignored the exempt W-4 that the employee provided and instead withheld tax from the pay anyway. And there is nothing illegal about that. The tax law is concerned about ensuring that there is at least sufficient withholding to meet the employee's tax obligations. If more is withheld, that is not a problem for federal tax law. It just means the employee gets more of a refund when she files.

 

In any event, no law prohibits an employer from firing an employee over this issue so there is no wrongful termination.

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6 hours ago, Auron said:

 

Nice... except my situation is actually discriminatory. But i was

only using the Florida case as an example because the court

was showing that even a wrongful termination based on a non-

discriminatory reason tends to side with the employer... despite

him being 'morally wrong' in his reasoning. There may even be an

illegal act in him the changing the W4 after it being signed,

but that will do nothing for her employment situation at the

moment, or at least reading Michigan law, not that i can see. 

 

What is your definition of a wrongful termination? Because from your statement above, I don't believe you actually know what that term means legally.

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