My employer Boeing was mistakenly withholding $50 per pay period from my payroll check for my husbands medical coverage. When I was hired by Boeing, I signed my husband up to receive secondary coverage from Boeing since it was free for spouses who have primary insurance with their own company (My husband’s primary coverage is with Microsoft Premera). I had set up our medical coverage over the phone with Boeing benefits, at that time they assured me that my husband would be free and and that it was fine for me to elect to keep my children on my husbands insurance and not put them on mine at all since if I covered them on Boeing insurance it would be their primary insurance; I didn’t want Boeing insurance to be my kids primary since it is not nearly as good as my husbands insurance which covers everything at 100%.I was told by Boeing Benefits that they will not refund the money they deducted because they do not have a record of the phone conversation when I set up the medical coverage. They claim that they sent me one letter which stated they needed more information about David’s primary medical insurance. I explained that I never received the letter, and that I had only looked at the very first annual enrollment statement I received after I was first hired which indicated that I was being charged $0 for my husband to have the Boeing secondary coverage. I did not look at the next 2 annual enrollment packages because they had sent letters saying that only if you are changing selections did you need to read through the annual package and make changes. David never used Boeing insurance at any time since Microsoft Premera covers everything 100%. Boeing was never charged for any medical expenses for my husband. But nonetheless because I did not answer one letter that Boeing claims they sent, they have refused to give me back the money (over $2500) they withdrew from my pay check for 2 years. I went through 2 appeals processes but they denied me because they said I should have noticed the charges by reading through the once a year annual benefits package and that the fact that I never received the one letter that they claim they sent requesting additional information about David’s insurance is not reason enough to refund my money. Additionally, since they erase phone records after 16 months they claim that they do not have a way to confirm that I did in fact give them my husband’s primary insurance information by phone. Boeing benifits did stop the withdrawals after I discovered the error 2 years later. Additionally I learned from Boeing Benifits that because so many employees had been incorrectly charged for secondary spouse insurance for either not responding to the spouse insurance verification letter, or not filling out the questions correctly , they changed the process and Boeing Benefits stopped sending out these letters and now do spouse insurance verification entirely by phone. However, even though Boeing Benefits recognizes that many employees had money mistakenly withdrawn from their payroll due to the failure of the Boeing process , they are not accepting my claim that it is unfair to keep my money.Boeing did not show any due diligence to try to reach me when I did not respond to the one letter they sent. They did not send emails or attempt to call me even though they have my phone numbers and email address. What next steps may I take? Is there a state insurance organization, or state workers rights organization that can help me get my money back? Can companies like Boeing really keep your pay when you don’t catch an error and money is being withdrawn from your paycheck?
State/Country relating to question: Washington
2 appeals processes with Boeing Benifits
and I contacted the Engineering Union SPEEA but they claim this is not worth their time
Good afternoon,I'm sorry to hear of the situation.It sounds like a case of Boeing Benefits perhaps deliberately---not mistakenly---signing you up for something that you did not ask for.Under the circumstances, you should immediately file suit to recover the unpaid wages based on the "error" because there is a 2 year time period in which to seek unpaid wages if the employer is only negligent---and 3 years if you can prove intent to deprive you of the wages, you do need to get your claim on file ASAP.
Additionally, under federal laws (FLSA), you are also entitled to what is called Liquidated damages. Liquidated damages is equal to the amount of back wages that they owe you and must be paid in addition to the wages themselves---so you essentially get double wages in the claim if you can convince the court that Boeing showed a deliberate, willful failure to pay you. http://labor-employment-law.lawyers.com/wage-and-hour-law/Liquidated-Damages-and-FLSA-Claims.html
Here is an excellent article which deals with pursuing an FLSA claim---which you may do in either state court or federal court. Do take the time to review it:
27 years legal experience and I keep current in Employment Law through regular continuing education.
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