Rhode Island adheres to the Federal Labor Laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act. What this holds is that an employer can dock an employee for time spent out of the office for hours not worked before the 40 hour mark -- but it can only do so in FULL day increments. So if you miss one half day for a doctor appointment the employer cannot dock you for that time. If you are out a full day, then you can be docked. The same is true for anything that you take time off for -- if you are out 3 and 1/2 days for some reason and you do not have sick or vacation days to cover the time, your employer can only dock you for the 3 days and cannot dock you for the 1/2 day. r
If your employer is not following these rules then you can file a complaint with the Rhode Island Dept of Labor or the US Dept. of Labor and they will investigate and if they find in your favor, you ill be able to collect all of the back pay that they docked you for partial days if/when you were out.
I apologize for the delay -- I have had a number of customers this afternoon for some reason.
First, I hope that you reported this matter to the police when you first learned that someone took out a credit card in your name -- even if the police do nothing about the case, the courts look for a police report because there is so much fraud going on with people claiming to have been victims of identity theft, that the court figures that if a person is NOT telling the truth about identity theft that person will not risk filing a false police report (there are big penalties involved with filing a false police report).
That being said, even if you do not have a police report, you do have proof that your information was released on line so that should go a long way with the court (this information coupled with a police report would be the best). If you do not have a police report this is probably one of the reasons why this company continues to pursue you.
Regarding your specific questions -- if the judge gave you time to file an answer then that usually means that they would like an answer. My suggestion is that you do file an answer and keep it short and sweet -- but attach the proof that this is identity theft right to your answer. If the court dismissed their complaint because of the identity theft, then you should ask the court for the order of dismissal to be entered "with prejudice" so that this company cannot bring this case against you again - and if they sell this debt to another zombie collection agency who tries the same thing, then you simply write an answer to any such lawsuit and enclose copies of the court dismissal with prejudice, and the next court will also dismiss the case against you.
If for some reason this case is NOT dismissed at that point, then right there, at the hearing, you want to ask the court for permission to amend your court filings to include a counterclaim or counterclaims against the company. If the judge/court is inclined to let this case continue on for a full trial where you each present your proof, then the judge should be inclined to let you amend your filings to include a counterclaim. If you wait too long and try to bring a separate claim against them as a counterclaim you may miss the statute of limitations.
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