Consider the following situation. If you find yourself facing similar circumstances, do not hesitate to call Alan Burton Newman, PLC for seasoned counsel.
I worked hard and put in long hours for the company without complaining. The company was very successful and promised me that I would be rewarded as they continued to grow. However, I recently got a new boss and it became apparent that he did not like me. I believe he felt threatened by me because he was newer. He did everything he could to find fault with me and write me up. Eventually, I made some minor mistakes. I worried that my hard work was all going to be wasted in a wrongful termination. I decided to call an attorney to see whether there was anything he could do to protect me from getting fired.
The attorney advised me that the employer could legally fire me and not even give me severance pay. The attorney asked me whether I had been paid for overtime. I explained to him that I was a salaried employee and did not get overtime. He then asked me whether I had any “direct reports” and whether I exercised independent judgement and discretion. I explained to him that I had some people reporting to me but I did not have the power to hire and fire them, and that any business decision had to be submitted to upper management for their approval.
The attorney explained to me that under these circumstances I was not an “exempt” employee and should have been paid overtime. They sent a letter to my company demanding compensation for the overtime and for penalties.
The attorney also explained to me that now the company could not fire me without incurring substantial liability for “retaliation.” He was right. The company did not fire me and eventually paid me thousands of dollars for overtime and offered me a substantial severance package if I would agree to quit. In addition, I received a “neutral” reference promised in writing that no perspective employer would ever be informed by the company that I had threatened to sue the company and that I had received thousands of dollars in a settlement. In my case, the settlement was over $200,000. The whole process took less than 90 days, during which time I continued to receive my “salary”.