demoted, paycut, unemployment, earned vacation time pay

I have several questions.

1)I began working for my employer in 1994 as hourly (punching a clock) plus commissioned sales, I received no pay for sick or personal time.
In 1998, I was placed on straight salary. I was never docked for sick days or personal time.
I was recently told that I must punch the clock again, I will now have no sick or personal time paid. Demoted?

Also in 1999 I was awarded a company car ain lieu of a raise, in 2002 he took it away when the lease was up and offered no compensation. Drastic cut in pay!

Do I have grounds to quit and collect unemployment?

2)I signed a non-compete agreement 3 years after I started my employment. I was told by the manager I reported to that I had to or lose my job. I received no reward/compensation for signing it.

Is the no compete valid?

3) And lastly:
If I quit, with 2 weeks notice, does he have to pay me the 2 weeks of vacation time I earned to take in 2004?

1 answer  |  asked Jan 19, 2004 8:34 PM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

David M. Lira
Changing terms of employment

The answer to your first question is "Employee at Will." In part, the employment at will doctrine allows an employer to change the terms of employment at any time for any reason or no reason at all.

The employment at will doctrine also allows you to quit at any time for any reason or no reason at all. No two weeks notice required.

Whether you can get unemployment is an entirely other matter. Generally, if you quit, you cannot get unemployment, but there are exceptions, such as constructive discharge, which involves the need to show the existance of an intolerable work environment. It is a difficult showing.

Whether a non-compete is enforceable depends on the terms of the non-compete, the nature of the employer's business, and the nature of the employee's job. However, in New York State, non-competes are generally disfavored, so that you are likely to win on a dispute concerning a non-compete. The problem is that you may have to spend a lot of money in attorneys' fees to win.

Vacation pay is considered earned, unlike sick leave. Generally, when you leave, you are entitled to take your vacation pay with you. The question is whether you have earned the vacation pay. That will depend on the employer's policy and practice.

posted by David M. Lira  |  Jan 20, 2004 08:43 AM [EST]

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