Employment Law

Iwork in a medical imaging private practice and have for 7…

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Iwork in a medical imaging...
Iwork in a medical imaging private practice and have for 7 yrs. as an MRI tech. I hired in with a written and accepted offer. We scan about 200 people a month which is pretty good. The offer says there will be a raise every year, I've let that slide, bonuses (let it slide). I found out he hasn't paid the equipment lease sine early last year nad... Read full answer
Iwork in a medical imaging private practice and have for 7 yrs. as an MRI tech. I hired in with a written and accepted offer. We scan about 200 people a month which is pretty good. The offer says there will be a raise every year, I've let that slide, bonuses (let it slide). I found out he hasn't paid the equipment lease sine early last year nad is now working with the vendor to keep our doors open. I took a 10% paycut(ouch), cut the hrs to 36/wk. Friday(13th) he cut the hrs to 30/wk and took away all benefits including vacation. One of my coworkers was on vacation for the prior 2 wks that this happened and she's being paid. 7YEARS...can he do this? Don't I have any rights? Please help!!
Submitted: 10 years ago.Category: Employment Law
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2/17/2009
Employment Lawyer: Experienced Attorney, Employment Lawyer replied 10 years ago
Experienced Attorney
Experienced Attorney, Employment Lawyer
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I want to make sure that I understand your written offer.

 

You need to actually read it, not just guess at what it says.

 

Does the letter say that you are offered employment for a specific length of time?

 

Here is the problem. In general, employment is "at will." This means that the employer and the employee are free to terminate their relationship at any time without any notice. It means that the employer can reduce your future wages at anytime. The employer is free to take away vacation that isn't earned.

 

In the US the employer needs to merely comply with minimum wage and in some instances overtime provisions. The employer pretty much controls the other conditions of employment.

 

However, if you have a valid contract of employment for a definite time - that contract controls

 

So, you need to get that offer letter out and read it carefully.

 

I'd be glad to clarify or to respond if you have the exact wording from the offer letter.

 

 

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Customer reply replied 10 years ago

Dated 2-6-"02 There is no specific length of time. I have a copy in front of me. It states M-F 8 to 5 , hours may vary. Starting pay with a dollar increase after 90 day review(which did happen).Standard yearly reviews (always good) Average yearly raise of 3-6%. $200 dollars a month for the 1st year towards health / dental ins. 2 nd year of employ $300/month. 8 paid holidays, 2 1/2 days (dec 23rd and dec 31)

5 paid sick, 3 bereavement, 2 weeks paid vacation 1st year, 2 1/2 2nd year, 3 wks 3rd year. Bonuses distributed approx 3-4 times per year. 401k offer with 50% match up to 6%. No weekends or evening. Flexible work environment when time off is needed. She looks forward to discussing this offer w/me and understands career moves can be a difficult decision. Feel free to talk candidly w/ concerns or questions. She (the manager) signed it. That's it I accepted. It hasn't always happened but I just can't believe he can just take everything we've worked all these years for away. I do know about "at will". We should have some rights?!?! Shouldn't we?

Employment Lawyer: Experienced Attorney, Employment Lawyer replied 10 years ago

Does it mention "at will" or say that this offer does not constitute an employment contract?

 

Did you ever sign a handbook or other document that had similar disclaimer language?

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Customer reply replied 10 years ago

There's a policy book it says:group life and health for 30 or more hrs/wk. They encourage and promote vacations,it is mandatory and won't roll to the next year or it will be lost.

Full time30 hrs or more per wk must be approved , also pd holidays.

It says : The various matters discussed in this handbook are of great importance , but are not, and are not intended to be an exclusive list of all the compann's rules, regulations aand policies. As log as the individual's satisifed with th Co and the Co is satisfied w/ emplloyee. This handbook is not a contract of employment and does not maintain written employment contracts with it's employees and employment is at will. What about "implied" contract?

Employment Lawyer: Experienced Attorney, Employment Lawyer replied 10 years ago

It sounds as if you have some unusual language in both your offer letter and policy book.

 

The finding of an "implied contract" refers to situations where courts are holding employers to representations and promises about job security. These can be found in statements that an employer makes to employees verbally, offer letters and or policies/handbooks.

 

Historically these are conditions that employers would otherwise be free to change or discard at any time. The most common examples of modern implied contract claims are: 1) an implied agreement that employees cannot be fired absent good cause; and 2) an implied agreement that employers will follow some form of progressive discipline or investigative procedures before terminating an employee.

 

The problem you have is that Indiana has not recognized this implied contract theory.

 

So unless you can prove that you are have an employment contract at a set wage and set benefits for a specific length of time, I think you're out of luck here.

 

Now that doesn't mean you just give up. If I were you and your coworkers I would collect up all of the documentation that you have to show that you have a contract. You can then get an appointment with a local attorney - usually the first meeting is free.'

 

You can use the State Bar Association Lawyer Referral service if you don't know of an attorney. You want an attorney experienced in plaintiff's side employment law. You can tell the attorney that you'd like a free consultation that a group of people from your office are considering filing a lawsuit.

 

You should be able to get a free consultation - if not something less than $100 to set down with all of your documents and facts. The more prepared you are - chronology of events - documents with tabs/highlights - the quicker and cheaper it will be.

 

Let me know if I can clarify my answer.

 

 

 

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Customer reply replied 10 years ago
What about the fact that one employee has just used 2 wks of her vacation and 2 of us are scheduled off for spring break. If she has been paid for her time, shouldn't we have at least the same coming to us? Can he fire us for going to an atty w/ our complaint. "The Book" says to follow a chain, a manager (who is feeling rather lost about the whole thing) then the owner. This guy is jumping on the cut wages bandwagon for his own profit. This business isn't struggling, I've been with them thru the enitre growth of it. This is the same guy who was begging me to stay at the begining because neither he or the manager had a clue about running a medical imaging facility. Nothing for loyality. I feel lied to, cheated, robbed and like I'm being forced to quit. His cuts have me to the point I have $191 left after paying all the bills and that's not including food. When are "the courts" going to become less amused w/ this kind employer behavior? I have a resume posted on line and w/ facitliies all around, there are no jobs! The stress is making me physically ill not to mention an emotional nightmare(assuming I wasn't one before hand...haha)
Employment Lawyer: Experienced Attorney, Employment Lawyer replied 10 years ago

Your question and variations on your question are becoming VERY common - can my employer cut my wages, force me to take a vacation, take away my vacationhe . . . .

 

This really isn't an issue about courts being too easy on employers. In some cases it is about employers who legitimately can't make payroll, employers who are scared, employers who are taking advantage of the cut wages/benefits that is rampant, and the free market system.

 

When the economy is good this all works. If your boss is unfair or doesn't pay you enough, you just go down the street to another employer and take you knowledge and skill with you and leave him high and dry.

 

One avenue might be for the employees to get together and talk with a union about representation. That will scare your employer to death.

 

You can't be fired for talking with a union about representation and it doesn't take that much to organize.

 

I usually would never recommend it because IF your employer really is hurting financially and if your wages are being cut, the last thing anyone needs is another mouth (the union) to feed. Remember, ultimately union dues come from your pay check.

 

However, it might make sense here to have a little union organizing. Shop around for a union that knows about your business and has gotten good contracts for others.

 

Please feel free to ask me to clarify.

 

As for the employer letting one employee have the vacation and not others, that is not relevant unless there is unlawful discrimination involved (race, age, disability, national origin, religion, gender, race . . . )

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