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Wrongfully terminated, royally screwed

Discussion in 'Termination: Firing & Resignation' started by Khristan, Nov 10, 2016.

  1. Khristan

    Khristan Law Topic Starter Guest

    Jurisdiction:
    Indiana
    My boyfriend was recently fired from his company. Its a small business with husband and wife owners and a small permanent office team, but they are a contracting company so they have many 1099 subcontractors on payroll. My boyfriend worked some odd hours for them throughout the summer of 2015 and then started full time hours in October 2015. He consistently worked 30-40 hours per week. They told him that they were 1099 him for the end of 2015 for tax purposes and that he would not need to file a return because his earnings for the last few months of the year wouldn't be enough to warrant filing. They told him that he would fill out a W2 when he had earned enough to require it. In May 2016 they finally had him fill out a W2 and sign an employee handbook agreement. He was also given an employee evaluation at this point by the owners, after which he received a $4.92/hour raise. His review was positive and he was told that he was a huge help in growing the business. In May 2016, the company also hired a VP of Sales and New Business. Shortly after the VP came on board, my boyfriend's direct supervisor resigned, stating that the new VP was impeding her ability to do her job and her complaints were not being taken seriously by the company. After she left, my boyfriend was asked to take over some of her responsibilities and to help train her replacement. In October 2016, while the owners were out of town, the VP called in my boyfriend and fired him. The discharge meeting was completely unprofessional. The company's own handbook states that verbal and signed written warnings are to be given before termination. My boyfriend received none. When he asked why he was being fired he was told that he was unable to work well with others. However, the vast majority of his employment, he was not required to work with anyone other than his supervisor, who gave him a glowing recommendation to add to his portfolio. One additional employee was hired in September 2016. My boyfriend got along with her and we even socialized with her and her partner outside of work frequently. The only other person my boyfriend was asked to work with was the replacement for his supervisor, who had been at the company for only 6 weeks at the time. When he brought this evidence to the attention of the VP, and pointed out that no one else was trained to do his job to meet current deadlines, the VP said that he was "delusional for thinking he was an asset to the company". My boyfriend then said he wanted to speak to the owners. At which point he was told that it was not the owners call. The VP said that he had hiring and firing power over production and my boyfriend was "gone". When my boyfriend tried to reach out to the owners, they informed him that they were sorry but they had to support the decision that the VP had made because it was in his department. Obviously, this was a frustrating situation for us, but things got worse when he tried to file for his unemployment benefits. He filed for unemployment immediately, and within a few days was denied. But here's why: the base period for determining his unemployment benefits was July 2015 thru June 2016, meaning that the company only reported paying him $559.50 for the entirety of employment, which was a full year. Because they waited so long to put him on payroll, basically no benefits were paid for him. He did not receive any kind of a severance package. For all of his employment, he worked 30-40 hours every week. He was told not to file taxes for 2015 by the company. He never signed any kind of subcontracting agreement. And all of the work he did was for government jobs that had been contracted to his company by the local naval base. He worked in their production space, using their equipment, and while his schedule was flexible (he could come in anytime between 7 and 9 as long as he got all his hours in) he worked on their schedule. I know there is a lot of information here. I know a lot of the company's action was shady. I definitely think at the very least they intentionally misclassified his employment. But do we have any legal grounds in any direction?
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    All at will employees, as you describe your friend he fits that designation, can be terminated at anytime, without notice, reason, or justification.

    All he can do, LEGALLY, is file for unemployment, seek new employment, as well as tax advice.
     
  3. Betty3

    Betty3 Super Moderator

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    There can be exceptions to what is in the handbook & handbooks can normally be changed at any time. Also, handbooks generally do not rise to the level of a binding employment contract & many times there is a disclaimer in the handbook stating this.
     
  4. txls

    txls Well-Known Member

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    He can speak with the DOL as to whether he was correctly paid as a 1099 worker or should have been on payroll from the beginning.
     

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