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I'm sorry to hear about your situation. First of all, you need to separate out your ownership interest and your employment interest. Even through you could be fired by the CEO, your ownership interest cannot be foreclosed, withheld, etc.. without your consent.
To the extent that you have already done the work, he cannot withhold your pay from you. If you worked in Massachusetts, then you could make a claim in Massachusetts for that pay that the company owes you.
Here's information on how to file a wage complaint: http://www.mass.gov/ago/doing-business-in-massachusetts/labor-laws-and-public-construction/file-a-wage-complaint.html
Again, this is for wages already earned until you're fired. Now as to being fired, Massachusetts is an "at will" employment state. At-will employment means that without a contract, you have no contractual or other right to employment with the company. The company is entitled to fire you for any reason: a good reason, a poor reason, or no reason at all--as long as the company does not fire you for an illegal reason (race, gender, age, religion, etc...).
Because he's the CEO, he has the legal authority to make employment decisions. And that means that he could terminate your employment, and prevent you from getting a paycheck in the future. Again, this has nothing to do with your ownership interest in the company.
It only has to do with your employment there.
If he wanted you out of the company entirely, he would have to buy you out, or otherwise you could compel a "dissolution" (where corporate assets are sold and distributed to the owners based upon the percentage that each owns).
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We are both on the Board... does that change things?
Not as to employment, no.
The board controls the "big picture" things of the business. The CEO (and any lower managers, etc...) would control the day to day operations, including employment decisions.
As I understand, he needs to have a 'causal' reason to fire me
That is why he hasn't been able to just straight out say... you're fired
Do you have an employment contract or a written employment policy that says that?
Yes... we have signed legal documentation when we created our startup company together
"For cause" termination could be the case, but it REQUIRES that there be something in writing that binds him to his.
In that instance, that's the case. He could not terminate without cause, and you could sue if he does.
That being said, you need to contact an attorney in your area that deals with employment law cases. Go to www.lawyers.com or www.legalmatch.com to find an attorney in your area. You should be able to find one that will give you a free initial consultation and better advise you of your rights, any problems with your case, likelihood of success, how courts are treating cases such as yours in your area, and what you should do next.
Now this is not going to reverse any termination. It would only give you the right to claim wrongful termination and sue for damages.
Further, you can still go after the wages that were not paid to you for work that you actually did. He can't withhold those earned wages from you.
As the end of the month draws near (hence the high importance of this question) he has said he doesn't have to pay me for the month of Nov. We deliver checks in the beginning of the month. My option here is to find work ASAP because I can't afford not to get a check. This will put me in a disadvantage (because there is a good chance I won't find work in a couple of days to pay my bills in the beginning of the month) and I would have to agree to whatever he says so I can get paid
I see. Again, while you can make a claim for wages not paid for work that you have already done, you would not have a claim for the work that you have not done. Any claim that you would have would be based upon unlawful termination.
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