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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 111451
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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The book store I work county college has been sold to and

Customer Question

the book store I work for Carolton county college has been sold to Barnes and Noble we were told we were being laid off and would be able to file unemployment now we are being asked to sign a voluntary termination letter and are being told that if we do not sign it the school we work for will hold our vacation pay and last check until we sign the letter because the letter was part of their departure procedure and I had signed a form at hire time stating that I would follow all procedures. What can We do there are 13 of us in this situation. We were all full time employees and were offered position with Barnes and Noble and were told the jobs would become part time
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
If the employer does not have a written policy saying that they can withhold vacation time, if they try to withhold your vacation pay to force you to sign this voluntary termination statement, you can sue for failure to pay wages when due. See: http://www.dllr.state.md.us/labor/wagepay/wpunusedvacpay.shtml
If they have all offered you a job, they are wanting you to sign the voluntary termination statement because they will say you refused employment and voluntarily quit to try to deny you unemployment. If they are not offering you "reasonable and suitable employment" then you do not have to accept it, but they can claim it was reasonable and suitable and force you to go to an appeal and prove that part time employment was not reasonable and suitable.
Sounds like they are trying to stick it to the employees though and trying to claim that you voluntarily quit and you need to inform them that if they continue to insist on withholding pay you will be filing a complaint with the MD Department of Labor and will be suing for triple damages for malicious refusal to pay wages due on termination.