My boss and co-workers are acting like high school kids

I need someone's help...

I started working for a pet stoe back in January of this year. Everything was going fine for a while and my job was great. I was basically allowed to do what I wanted and because the boss, one of my fellow co-workers and I got along so well, we became friends and hung out. I soon discovered that if you weren't doing an exceptional job, the boss would say you were useless and make snide, ignorant remarks about you behind your back, only to start a whirlwind of rumors about everyone in a tiny pet store. My boss even hooked 2 of my co-workers up so they could have a romantic relationship while working. I can't tell you how many times she called me names and screamed profanities at me if I didn't want to stay there to help restock shelves. Granted she was my boss, but it wasnt mandatory that I stayed and I wasnt paid over time. Did I mention she has been paying me cash under the table as well?

She later sent me back and forth between working at the pet store and cleaning beds at the tanning salon. Then she asked me to tutor her 2 daughters who are home schooled...and had me helping her kids take care of the horses. I don't mind that she asked me to help out every once in a while, but if I said no, or had other plans for the evening, she got hostile, used profanity and screamed at me over the phone. She monopolized my time and never paid me for it. I was a full time worker, paid under the table, with no benefits.

All the other employees who have left in the past said she was bad to work for. While I dont want to seem like i'm disgruntled, I'm only 20 and she has been treating me this way for 4 months. My patience has worn out, and before things get really ugly and i get fired, I need some legal advice on my rights as an employee.

Any suggestions?

1 answer  |  asked May 9, 2007 11:31 AM [EST]  |  applies to Pennsylvania

Answers (1)

Christopher Ezold
You have a right to be paid for your work.

Before I respond to your inquiry, I must state that we have not spoken, I have not reviewed the relevant documents and facts, and I do not represent you. Therefore, my discussion below is not a legal opinion, but is informational only. Finally, my discussion applies only to issues to which Pennsylvania or Federal law apply, unless otherwise specified.

That being said, you have a right to be paid for your work. If you perform services for an employer, Pennsylvania law requires that you be paid. If you are fired for refusing to work for free, or take on additional work as a personal home assistant to the employer, you'll be entitled to unemployment compensation.

Being paid 'under the table' is a problem. First, you are not paying taxes due, and you'll be liable for such taxes, as well as penalties, fines and interest. Second, since unemployment taxes are not withheld, you may not be eligible for unemployment. Third, your Social Security taxes are not being paid, which means that your Social Security payments upon retirement will be lower.

The good news is, since you've only been employed for four months this year, you can remedy the tax issues. The bad news is that a childish boss who doesn't pay taxes is going to create a horrible working environment that will only get worse. I'd recommend seeking another, legitimate, job immediately, and telling your employer to (a) pay you for all unpaid time worked, (b) to start deducting taxes appropriately, and (c) pay all back taxes owed.

If you would like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to contact me at the below address(es) or number.

/Christopher E. Ezold/
Nancy O'Mara Ezold, P.C.
One Belmont Avenue,
Suite 501
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
(610) 660-5585

posted by Christopher Ezold  |  May 9, 2007 11:52 AM [EST]

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