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TexasGary

Laid off - company refuses to pay PTO

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A friend was laid off from his job yesterday (03/24/20).  He had a balance of 70 hours PTO remaining.  HR has told him that they are not going to pay the PTO and that if he wants two weeks severance that he must sign a document promising not to sue the company.

His employee handbook states this:

Employees who are laid off for economic reasons will receive the balance of any unpaid leave remaining at the time of the work separation.

Should he sign the document and take the two weeks?  Should he consider contacting an attorney?

Any advice is appreciated.

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I’m sure the Texas Workforce Commission is gonna be real forceful with that asshole company.

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I am not sure an employment lawyer will bother with this due to overall size. Do not sign form, he can always go to press/glassdoor etc and try some good old fashioned public shaming.

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26 minutes ago, ClubWhatever said:

Tell us the company so we can never have anything to do with them ever.  

 

After we doxx every person in management and and air their past sins, bankruptcies, divorces, as well as spread some good ol' fashioned gossip about things we "heard"  about them.  😄

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I would say sign, take the 80 hours of severance,  and then reach out to the Texas workforce commission. Fight for the pto.

If he doesn’t sign, then he most likely gets nothing today. Yes, eventually he might get the 70 PTO hours if he fights, but he will never see the 80 of severance.

And in both cases, slam them in every forum where you can have anonymity. 

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I’m sure that there’s a Surly lawyer that would write a threatening letter in exchange for a couple of handjobs.

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1 hour ago, luke duke said:

I’m sure that there’s a Surly lawyer that would write a threatening letter in exchange for a couple of handjobs.

I heard some of these surly lawyers would even give the handjobs for free.

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2 hours ago, luke duke said:

I’m sure that there’s a Surly lawyer that would write a threatening letter in exchange for a couple of handjobs.

you might want to clarify this  >>>>> who's giving and who's receiving ?

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Take the 80 but click on every link in every spam email while logged on to the company’s network. Might as well get them held hostage by a Russian teen hacker.

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11 hours ago, CooterBrown said:

Take the 80 but click on every link in every spam email while logged on to the company’s network. Might as well get them held hostage by a Russian teen hacker.

A few visits to the old site should do it. 

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Thinking back to my days with payroll law and when I did HR at my family owned company......   I don't think a company has to pay out PTO unless it's stated in a contract?  

Take the severance and file unemployment.   

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16 hours ago, BrazilHorn said:

I am not sure an employment lawyer will bother with this due to overall size. Do not sign form, he can always go to press/glassdoor etc and try some good old fashioned public shaming.

Correct.....  But  he won't get the severance unless he signs the document.   The promise not to hold the company liable via a severance offer is standard operating procedure.    And considering the circumstances we now face, he would be probably be wise just to take it and run before the said company runs out of funds if that is the reason they are dismissing employees or they say the heck with it and withdraw it because he took to long.    The sooner he gets on line and files for unemployment the better instead of dragging it out to where his own bank account starts drying up.   Most Lawyers have the funds to survive and will place him in the back of the line if at all.  

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Thanks for the responses.  He is going to have a discussion with HR tomorrow.  Depending on how that goes he has an attorney that is going to place a phone call to their COO.

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14 hours ago, Js1 said:

A few visits to the old site should do it. 

Which one?

We apparently have a trail of death & destruction in our wake.

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Posted (edited)

He’s not legally entitled to the severance pay so bringing in a lawyer right now will cost him 10 hours of pay.  At least in Texas. And whatever the lawyer costs him.

The company probably has an informal layoff policy to pay the higher of unused PTO or 2 weeks pay. They probably consider this generous.

Take the 80. Bringing in a lawyer, who most likely will not win for your friend and will just make him angry.

(side note, now I’m concerned about all of the unused PTO I have saved up.)

Edited by Nice Guy Eddie

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On 3/25/2020 at 5:55 PM, Hornius Emeritus said:

 

After we doxx every person in management and and air their past sins, bankruptcies, divorces, as well as spread some good ol' fashioned gossip about things we "heard"  about them.  😄

OMG...do you think they might have killed hookers also?

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LMAO.  Take the 80 hours.  Unless the guy is C-suite, fighting the 70 hours would probably cost him most of that in attorney fees.

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13 hours ago, Nice Guy Eddie said:

side note, now I’m concerned about all of the unused PTO I have saved up.)

Use it or lose it!!! They give you the time, they WANT you to take off weeks at a time.

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Whatever you get, be sure to cancel your direct deposit after you get it. I had a friend who got a severance after being laid off, then a day later it was taken back out of his account.

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Help me understand your friend’s plight. 

He has worked and worked for this company, say all 52 weeks in 2019.  2 of the 52 work weeks in 2019 were earmarked for PTO but your friend didn’t take them.  He just worked all 52 weeks.  

Now he’s laid off in 2020 and he wants his 2 weeks of 2019 PTO in addition to his 52 weeks; 2 of which were to be PTO but went unused by your friend?

is this right?

 

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8 hours ago, High Plains Drifter said:

 

Whatever you get, be sure to cancel your direct deposit after you get it. I had a friend who got a severance after being laid off, then a day later it was taken back out of his account.

Bounced check?

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4 hours ago, TeddyBearStallion said:

Bounced check?

From my experience, when you allow your employer to direct deposit your paycheck, you also sign over the right for them to recall that amount from your bank account. The purpose is in case they make a mistake, they can take the money back. 

I've known a few people to reject direct deposit because of this requirement, and instead opt for a paper paycheck to be mailed to their house.  They prefer to the delay over giving up the right of a potential clawback of funds. I think the risk of that is low, with most employers.

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On 3/31/2020 at 6:35 AM, deadshank said:

Help me understand your friend’s plight. 

He has worked and worked for this company, say all 52 weeks in 2019.  2 of the 52 work weeks in 2019 were earmarked for PTO but your friend didn’t take them.  He just worked all 52 weeks.  

Now he’s laid off in 2020 and he wants his 2 weeks of 2019 PTO in addition to his 52 weeks; 2 of which were to be PTO but went unused by your friend?

is this right?

 

No, at his company you accrue x amount of PTO per pay period.  As of his date of termination his PTO balance was 70 hours.  The employee handbook that was provided by the company clearly states that any unused PTO will be paid out at the time of separation.  When he was laid off he was told that they were paying him for two weeks in lieu of giving him two weeks notice.  That was the way the statement was formed in his letter of separation.  When he inquired about his PTO he was told by HR that they had decided not to pay out PTO.

He wants his two weeks that was provided for in his letter of separation and he wants his unused PTO that was guaranteed per the employee handbook.  He has spoken with other employees that were laid off.  They received two weeks pay and had already used some / most of their vacation.

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On 3/25/2020 at 4:46 PM, XYZ said:

I’m sure the Texas Workforce Commission is gonna be real forceful with that asshole company.

They are useless. 10 dollar an hour reps reading off a card. 

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9 hours ago, TexasGary said:

No, at his company you accrue x amount of PTO per pay period.  As of his date of termination his PTO balance was 70 hours.  The employee handbook that was provided by the company clearly states that any unused PTO will be paid out at the time of separation.  When he was laid off he was told that they were paying him for two weeks in lieu of giving him two weeks notice.  That was the way the statement was formed in his letter of separation.  When he inquired about his PTO he was told by HR that they had decided not to pay out PTO.

He wants his two weeks that was provided for in his letter of separation and he wants his unused PTO that was guaranteed per the employee handbook.  He has spoken with other employees that were laid off.  They received two weeks pay and had already used some / most of their vacation.

OK.  Thanks for the clarity.  Not a "use it or lose it" proposition.

Pay the man, Shirley.

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Whatever you get, be sure to cancel your direct deposit after you get it. I had a friend who got a severance after being laid off, then a day later it was taken back out of his account.
1234

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On 3/31/2020 at 12:56 PM, Nice Guy Eddie said:

From my experience, when you allow your employer to direct deposit your paycheck, you also sign over the right for them to recall that amount from your bank account. The purpose is in case they make a mistake, they can take the money back. 

I've known a few people to reject direct deposit because of this requirement, and instead opt for a paper paycheck to be mailed to their house.  They prefer to the delay over giving up the right of a potential clawback of funds. I think the risk of that is low, with most employers.

 

I'm going to guess that most employers, no longer give the option of a paper check. Mine doesn't.

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On 3/26/2020 at 9:01 AM, Nueces River Rat said:

Thinking back to my days with payroll law and when I did HR at my family owned company......   I don't think a company has to pay out PTO unless it's stated in a contract?  

Take the severance and file unemployment.   

late to the thread (responding for the sake of anyone who searches for this thread later) but this is correct, though add "in writing" whether it be a contract, handbook, offer letter or custom and practice.  Texas starts with the default that PTO is not a "cash benefit" unless the employer agrees otherwise.  and even if it were a cash benefit, if the severance offer exceeds accrued PTO you are often better off taking severance and going.  Severance has no impact on unemployment eligibility and any release that says you won't file is unenforceable.  If your PTO is as valuable as the severance offered then negotiate.  If you don't have severance offered but you have PTO and aren't being paid out, file a wage claim with the TWC.  also note the last check has to be paid within a short period of time in Texas too, I think 7 days but don't hold me to that.  there's a fine for paying an employee their last check late too. 

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From my experience, when you allow your employer to direct deposit your paycheck, you also sign over the right for them to recall that amount from your bank account. The purpose is in case they make a mistake, they can take the money back. 
I've known a few people to reject direct deposit because of this requirement, and instead opt for a paper paycheck to be mailed to their house.  They prefer to the delay over giving up the right of a potential clawback of funds. I think the risk of that is low, with most employers.

I once handed a paycheck to an employee that was for 800 hours of work instead of 80. I didn’t notice until I was reconciling the account at end of the month. The check had not been cashed and when I confronted the employee she still had it in her desk in the envelope, she never even noticed my mistake. Whew. I make it a habit to thumb through and look at every paycheck now before I sign them.

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When I bought my first house I transferred the money for the closing into my checking account.  When I went to the bank to get a cashier's check I was told that I didn't have sufficient funds.  It turned out that when I got paid my employer deducted my paycheck from my account rather than depositing it.  That was my first experience with direct deposit.

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55 minutes ago, NeverMarryAStripper said:

When I bought my first house I transferred the money for the closing into my checking account.  When I went to the bank to get a cashier's check I was told that I didn't have sufficient funds.  It turned out that when I got paid my employer deducted my paycheck from my account rather than depositing it.  That was my first experience with direct deposit.

ell oh ellz.

I put some cash down on a truck and had my bank finance the balance.  My bank was to put x dollars into my account so I could right a check for the full amount to the dealer.  

Some dummy at the bank deducted the amount that the bank was supposed to deposit into my checking account and I had checks bouncing from here to Saturn.  After fielding several phone calls from establishments I cut checks to I realized what had happened.  My banker (and personal friend) was none too pleased.  He had the dummy call and write to every recipient of my NSF checks and explain to them that he done goofed.  The bank picked up all of the NSF charges.  We still chortle about that to this day.  Banker said the dummy didn't make it too long at the bank.  

He's probably did make it in Congress somewhere.

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On 5/6/2020 at 1:15 PM, troph said:

late to the thread (responding for the sake of anyone who searches for this thread later) but this is correct, though add "in writing" whether it be a contract, handbook, offer letter or custom and practice.  Texas starts with the default that PTO is not a "cash benefit" unless the employer agrees otherwise.  and even if it were a cash benefit, if the severance offer exceeds accrued PTO you are often better off taking severance and going.  Severance has no impact on unemployment eligibility and any release that says you won't file is unenforceable.  If your PTO is as valuable as the severance offered then negotiate.  If you don't have severance offered but you have PTO and aren't being paid out, file a wage claim with the TWC.  also note the last check has to be paid within a short period of time in Texas too, I think 7 days but don't hold me to that.  there's a fine for paying an employee their last check late too. 

It's seven days and they are pretty much sticklers to that rule unless you can prove they didn't do any work they are claiming on their final time sheet.    Then it was suggested to us if we came to this situation, you pay the not disputed part of the pay and then go to battle on the disputed part.  We had a few occasions where this occurred, but deferred to just paying it to save the headaches of a possible TWC audit down the road.  It might have been a 8 or so hours so it was like just pay the headache to go away so they won't give you a bigger one down the road.  If they filed for unemployment, we often didn't get charge backs because we had our duck in a row.  And yes we had former employees try the PTO argument against us and it worked in our favor.

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On 5/6/2020 at 2:55 PM, deadshank said:

ell oh ellz.

I put some cash down on a truck and had my bank finance the balance.  My bank was to put x dollars into my account so I could right a check for the full amount to the dealer.  

Some dummy at the bank deducted the amount that the bank was supposed to deposit into my checking account and I had checks bouncing from here to Saturn.  After fielding several phone calls from establishments I cut checks to I realized what had happened.  My banker (and personal friend) was none too pleased.  He had the dummy call and write to every recipient of my NSF checks and explain to them that he done goofed.  The bank picked up all of the NSF charges.  We still chortle about that to this day.  Banker said the dummy didn't make it too long at the bank.  

He's probably did make it in Congress somewhere.

My first two checks to UT bounced because the bank printed the wrong account number on my checks. The bank credited me for the fee UT charged me, then UT waived the fee after I brought them a letter saying it wasn't my fault.  I made $50 for my troubles.  

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32 minutes ago, dingleberryswitzer said:

My first two checks to UT bounced because the bank printed the wrong account number on my checks. The bank credited me for the fee UT charged me, then UT waived the fee after I brought them a letter saying it wasn't my fault.  I made $50 for my troubles.  

Bank error in your favor.  Collect $50

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