employer illegal activity caused termination

along with not paying my agreed upon salary, it has been determined that the employer never withheld any income taxes for any employees during the same period of time that i was employed. When I confronted the owner about it I was terminated. What are my options at this point against this employer?

1 answer  |  asked May 7, 2007 10:05 PM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (1)

Neil Klingshirn
You have claims for you unpaid salary, unpaid taxes and lost wages

I see three issues.

First, you ask if you have a claim for unpaid wages; Second, whether you have a claim because the company has failed to remit your payroll taxes to the IRS and third, you ask whether you have a claim for wrongful discharge? Finally, in addition to these questions you asked in another email whether an employment agreement that the employer did not sign is nonetheless binding on the employer.

The answer to the unsigned employment agreement is that yes, the agreement is binding, even though not signed. Employment agreements can be (and most are) verbal. In your case, you are one step better than verbal, since the employer wrote down the deal. That put it in writing. The fact that the employer did not sign the agreement gives it, at most, an argument that it did not agree to the terms that were in writing. If the employer prepared the written agreement, however, it will almost certainly lose that agreement.

The second question is whether you can recover your lost wages. Again, the answer is "yes." If less than $3K, you can file suit in small claims court. The claim is breach of contract. Attach the written but unsigned contract to the small claims complaint and allege and prove (testify; show bank records) that you did not receive the disputed pay.

Next, you (and all other employees) have a claim for theft against this employer. He stole money that he was required to remit to the IRS. He is in even bigger trouble with the IRS. However, from your point of view, you have a theft claim and will need to file suit to recover the stolen money.

Finally, you should have a claim for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy. Ohio public policy protects employee questions about unpaid wages and unremitted payroll taxes.

The main downside to legal action may be the solvency of this emoployer. Does this employer (or perhaps its owners) have the means to pay the unpaid wages and back taxes?

Call me if you want to schedule a consultation.

Best regards,

Neil Klingshirn

An employment

posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  May 8, 2007 12:52 PM [EST]

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