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I am wondering if it is legal for an employer to force

Good morning. I am...

Good morning. I am wondering if it is legal for an employer to force employee A to pay employee B a percentage of pay just because employee B helped employee A get the job?

Lawyer's Assistant: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

North Carolina- there is no contract or written agreement.

Lawyer's Assistant: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?

It is full time- working with an agent in NC for a large company based in PA

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I have emails from employee B and the agent saying I was required to make those payments. In addition, I was fired for complaining about paying employee B, and blocked from working with another agent of the company.

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Answered in 3 minutes by:
1/19/2018
ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 18,113
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
Verified

Thank you for using JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. It really depends upon what you mean by "force". That is, if the employer were to take part of your pay and give it to employee B, that would be illegal. But if the employer says that you have to give part of your pay to employee B, otherwise you will be terminated, that's technically still a voluntary act which you have a choice (give money or be terminated). The first thing that you need to know is that North Carolina 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...). But it extends beyond firing, to hiring, promotions, demotions, wage cuts and raises, disciplinary actions, and even scheduling. Unless you can show that this was done in violation of a contract, union agreement, or a clear violation of an unambiguous and binding clause against the employer, or that it was done because of some minority status (age, race, gender, religion, disability) that you have, then they do have this discretion.

And while an involuntary deduction from your pay would be illegal, imposing a condition (pay employee B or else) would not be illegal. Immoral, unethical, illogical, absolutely. But not illegal.

I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but it is the law. I hope that clears things up anyway. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable.

Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (3 or more stars). Look for the stars on your screen (★★★★★). You may need to scroll left/right/up/down to see these stars, but note that the rating is what closes out this question, so it is necessary that you do so.

Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
The employer writes the checks, and refused to pay me unless I agreed to let him take out a percentage for employee B. That is not extortion? I thought it was illegal for anyone to get paid for helping someone get a job. I have, in an email, employee B stating the percentage is his "perk for getting me the job"

It's not illegal to pay someone for helping get the job. And this is also not extortion (that's a bit different). It IS illegal to withhold wages in this situation. That is, it's legal to say "pay a percentage or you're fired" but not legal to say "pay or you won't be paid". Your employer does have a legal obligation to pay you what is earned by you. IF he doesn't, you can file a wage claim and a lawsuit, no question about it.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
OK. He has since fired me, in October 2017. I have yet to receive my last two pay checks. What is the law concerning this, please?

Send a demand letter demanding payment within 30 days, otherwise you will pursue legal action against him, seeking that amount plus any additional damages as allowed by law. Send this letter certified, return receipt requested, as well as a copy sent regular mail. Keep a copy for yourself, as well as the return receipt number so that you can show the court that you made a demand for the unpaid wages.

You can also let him know that you demand immediate payment, otherwise you're going to take it to the North Carolina Department of Labor. Here's more about that: https://www.labor.nc.gov/workplace-rights

ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 18,113
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
Verified
ScottyMacEsq and 87 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thank you! You have been very helpful.

You're welcome, and again, good luck to you!

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Sorry! One more question! What kind of damages are allowed by law?

Employers violating the FLSA’s or North Carolina Wage and Hour Act’s minimum wage or overtime requirements may be forced to pay an employee’s unpaid overtime compensation or minimum wages (or both), and a court can also require an employee to pay liquidated damages. Liquidated damages is essentially “double damages,” requiring payment of an additional amount of money equal to wages found to be due.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
in a letter, I demand immediate payment, or I will sue for payment and damages? Or do I need to give him 30 additional days before taking action? The original payment due dates were Oct 27, 2017 and Nov 3, 2017

You can demand it now.

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