Holding Hostage

I posted a question last week and recieved usefull feedback, but have run into yet another situation with my law firm upon termination..and demand of a resignation letter.
I received a voice mail message on my home phone yesterday from the Managing Partner stating: "I have not send out your review from 3/25/02, nor your Cobra packet for benefit coverage and will not until we recieve a letter of resignation from you. Also, you will not recieve your final 2 week paycheck on 4/12/02, nor any vacation pay until we receive a letter of resignation".
This is in contrast to her previous message on 04/02/02 stating the opposite after a termination (not resignation)that actually occured on 03/28/02, when I was sent home from the firm under no uncertain terms.
I attempted to close/rollover my 401K (with what little is available) to live on and was told by benefits that I am still on the books as an active employee and they are not authorized to do so.
Active? I was terminated and now they want a "resignation letter" from me?!
This would forfeit any recover from EDD, which I was also told in that orignal voice mail message on 04/02/02 that with the iniation of the compensation, so called, of my regular pay, they would refuse any further claims should I attempt them. Alas, there insistance on a "resignation letter".
I contacted HR and informed them that can not do this, as it was a termination and they can not make an offer then hold it over my head and demand a resignation letter a almost 2 weeks later. That the Labor Board informed me they can not do this. She said, "There is no such law. We need a resignation letter and Human Resources is the one that is requesting it. You are still considered an active employee and regardless if you were sent home, we are taking this as a resignation."
I need help.
I have no income, no benefits and am scheduled for surgery on April 15th (which they were fully aware of), they will not release my excellent review I recieved (with a 6% salary increase) on 03/25/02, they will not release my paycheck and still have me as "active", nor validate this as a termination so they will not have to agree to EDD benefits should they be needed.
I lost the replies from two very good attorneys from this site that offered valuable information to me. One was from Los Angeles, CA and other from out of the state that asked me to call him.
If you see this request, please contact me. I am so stressed over this.
Thank you

2 answers  |  asked Apr 9, 2002 07:27 AM [EST]  |  applies to California

Answers (2)

Janet M. Koehn
too early in the morning!

couple of errors in my previous answer. you go to the labor board (dlse) to make your claim for your paycheck and for your vacation pay. you go to edd to apply for unemployment.
janet koehn
805-658-0655

posted by Janet M. Koehn  |  Apr 9, 2002 11:07 AM [EST]
Janet M. Koehn
go back to work!

i did not see or respond to your message last week, i don't believe. if you're still a regular employee and are not ill, go back to work. otherwise they could terminate you for job abandonment. they have to do something at that point. the second and third things you should do are to go to the labor board to demand your last check, and to file for unemployment.
you are entitled to your regular paycheck when it is scheduled to be paid. if you are not at the workplace, the check must be sent to your last known address. if you do not get it, they are liable for penalties for late payment of your regular wages. while you're at edd to get your paycheck, you can make a claim for your vacation pay, which must be paid upon termination for any reason, including voluntary quit. if they regard you as having quit, they must pay you your accrued vacation. they cannot withhold it to await some letter. it's only your status as no longer employed that counts.
edd will decide if you have been terminated. you should apply immediately, as they have withheld your final paycheck, you may not have to wait the statutory period to receive benefits. in your application, inform edd that they are denying you are terminated, but will not allow you to return to work (if that is the situation). they have formulaic questions to ask you about your status and will make a determination. whoever loses the initial determination has the right to appeal. so get it going.
penalties accrue if they refuse to give you your notice of cobra rights after you have been terminated. you can notify your insurer yourself, tell them what's going on, and ask them for your cobra information. (that will not make the insurer happy with their customer!)
it is too bad a law firm is pulling this stunt, it gives us all a black eye. how tacky. i don't know what the underlying situation was, but this sounds like some pretty horrendous evidence of retaliation, whatever it was.
if you're in southern california, please call me to see if i can help you further.
otherwise, good luck!
janet koehn
805-658-0655

posted by Janet M. Koehn  |  Apr 9, 2002 11:05 AM [EST]

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