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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 111609
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I was wrongfully terminated from my job February 12, 2015.

Customer Question

I was wrongfully terminated from my job February 12, 2015. The shop I was working in was covered by a collective bargaining agreement between the International Association of Machinist and L-3 Communications, in the state of Georgia. The matter was not settled in the 3 step grievance process and the matter was taken before an Arbitrator on September 10, 2015. The arbitrator found that I was in fact wrongfully terminated and the award was that I be reinstated, with back pay : less unemployment compensation of $5600, to be repaid by the company. The company made a settlement offer to not return to work with a retirement date of March 31, 2016. In this agreement they stated I would be paid a specified one time payment amount, receiving a 2016 W-2 reflecting the payment, but by law were not allowed to deduct the unemployment compensation, it would be my responsibility to pay this. If I did not work for the money, am I required to pay this?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 9 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 you received the money from unemployment and part of your reinstatement time was the time you collected unemployment, then you cannot double collect and someone has to reimburse unemployment. If they have not appealed the arbitration award and the arbitrator ordered the employer to reimburse unemployment then the employer has to either pay back unemployment in your name or give you that $5600 for you to send the check to unemployment yourself. Either way, the arbitrator's decision is binding and the employer either has to pay you back the full amount not taking the unemployment deduction and you are liable to pay back unemployment or they have to pay back unemployment in your name.
If the company is not willing to pay back unemployment in your name, then they need to give you the $5600 to pay them back. Either way unemployment will want their money back and it is ultimately your liability to do so because you are the one they would come after for the money if it is not repaid.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I will give you the exact wording from the arbitrator. Grievant shall be reinstated to his job with seniority and other benefits, including back pay at his regular rate of pay for a normal work week from the date of expiration of the five day suspension. Unemployment insurance and earnings from substitute employment received by grievant after Feb. 8, 2015 shall be deducted from the back pay due Grievant. So this WOULD require ME to pay it back? But I did not do any work to get this money. And I will be given a lump sum with a 2016 W-2. So would this not be considered wages for 2016?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Okay that says something a bit different. They are excluding the time you were paid unemployment, so because they are not paying you for the time you collected unemployment, you would not have to pay them back. You will get a lump sum, so you have to claim it in the year they gave you the W-2. So if they give it to you for 2016 you claim in with 2016 taxes if they give it to you with a 2015 W-2, you claim it with this tax return.