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Diane Vaksdal Smith

Diane Smith’s Answers

11 total


  • Is it legal for an employer to not allow his employees bring in a lunch or go out for a lunch but to purchase lunch there?

    my employer does not allows us to bring in lunches nor does he let us leave to get lunches. he expects us to purchase our food from him. is this illegal?

    Diane’s Answer

    I'm not sure I understand your question. Is the employer saying the only way you get a lunch is one purchased on site from a cafeteria or something? That sounds pretty fishy to me. Has your employer said why? This might be something to ask your local Department of Labor about.

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  • Can I/Is it worth it to take my former employer to court for wrongful termination damages if I had an at-will-status?

    Unemployment determined that I was not at fault, my former employer requested to appeal but after I responded to their request to appeal and sent subpoena's to former co-workers they withdrew their request.

    Diane’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Generally, the decisions by unemployment do not control anywhere except in the unemployment process. Often the courts - where you go for a wrongful termination case - say that the decisions by unemployment are iirrelevant. That's because the decision for unemployment doesn't have anything to do with wrongful termination. The decision-maker for unemployment benefits has to decide who was "at fault" for the separation, in order to decide entitlement to benefits and nothing else. Without a careful review of the facts of your case there's no way to tell if you have grounds to sue, but the unemployment decision alone probably isn't enough.

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  • Should I take cash or check for tax purpose from my employer?

    I have started this job on 10 of this month May. The owner agreed to pay me check. then on the first week pay he put cash in an envelope and handed over to me, when I opened I asked him I needed a check not cash, he said he is going collect my inf...

    Diane’s Answer

    Generally there are several problems with taking case instead of a check showing deductions and contributions. Money received as wages is almost always taxable, but being paid in cash means no withholding for state or federal taxes. An employer is supposed to pay a percentage for social security type benefits (as are you)but being paid in cash generally does not include that kind of contribution. Without any documentation (like a pay stub) showing the withholdings and contributions, you could be in trouble there. There's also no documentation to show if you are entitled to and received overtime payments. Cash payments are not a good idea.

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  • Is my friend being discriminated at work???

    My friend was talked about hygiene problems at work. Two supervisors who he did not know talked to him. He was asked right of the bat if he had health problems. He is overweight and he said they were looking at him up and down. He was so embarrass...

    Diane’s Answer

    Very difficult to answer with only these facts. Only recently has obesity been recognized as a possible disability. Also, there's nothing mentioned about whether they took any adverse action against him. Merely looking him up and down on one occasion, as you describe, may not be enough to make a claim for discrimination. In any case, if he is concerned he can consult with the EEOC or the Colorado Civil Rights Division.

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  • I was involuntarily terminated from my job as the local manager of a national company. I applied and was approved for UI.

    The company has appealed. I was fired for allegedly losing my temper with a subordinate. In their appeals brief, somebody has redacted the accusing person's name dozens of times. I can only conclude that they're doing this to somehow shield the...

    Diane’s Answer

    If she is at the hearing, you have the opportunity to confront the testimony. The problem would be if they rely on that person's accusations but don't bring her to the hearing, but have someone else say what the accuser said. If that's the case, then the hearing officer will probably have to decide whether the evidence is credible or not.

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  • Is it possible to sue my employer for not giving me law required breaks/working in un-safe conditions?

    The restaurant I worked for up until 3 days ago when I quit, was badly mistreating employees, neglecting Colorado labor laws and violating various health codes. I worked there for a little over a year and I almost never was allotted my 30 min. bre...

    Diane’s Answer

    The Colorado Department of Labor has jurisdiction to investigate a lack of break time, under the Colorado Minimum Wage Order #29. Did you tell your employer that you had a medical condition and ask for accommodation? You might want to consult the EEOC or the Colorado Civil Rights Division about a possible claim of disability discrimination.

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  • I believe I was forced into independent contractor employment so my employer would not have to pay over time wages.

    As a prerequisite to employment at a small Colorado hydro electric plant I was forced to be labeled an 'independent contractor' even though this was the only business that I worked for eight years. When I attempted to raise my hourly wage as any ...

    Diane’s Answer

    Your status generally turns on how much control the employer exercises. If you have been treated as an employee, except for compensation and benefits, then you may be misclassified. The Colorado Department of Labor has free information on line that might help.

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  • Is it considered discrimination to be terminated after complaining about sexual harrasment?

    I am a female QA analyst. my duties are to listen to calls made by our call center staff and grade each call. Two weeks ago, i was monitoring a call and due to an error in our system, that call was dropped and a call between a Sr. Manager and an a...

    Diane’s Answer

    You may have a hostile work place claim, though it may not meet the standard of severe or pervasive. Your situation is more likely a retaliation claim. Retaliation occurs when you engage in "protected activity" - making a complaint about some form of discriminatory conduct - and the company takes adverse action against you. In this case, terminating you for the complaint.

    The Company will likely say you were terminated for wrongful conduct (listening to the phone call) but you have the opportunity to show that their explanation is a pretext - a cover up - for their discriminatory action.

    You should consult with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or your state agency to decide whether to proceed with a complaint against the Company. Often states provide different and better protection for sexual orientation claims. You have to go through the agency process before you can proceed with any kind of a lawsuit.

    For general information, check out the EEOC's website.

    Good luck!

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  • Recourse beyond workmans comp? Inhalation injury after being required to haul hazardous material in a passenger car.

    I was required to haul as many as 14 5 gallon pails of various hazardous materials, caustics, acids, hypochlorite solutions, in an old suv.(up to 700lbs) I protested the obvious danger of this, was threatened, and am now suffering from permanent ...

    Diane’s Answer

    Colorado has a very expansive worker's compensation law and covers most employment situations. Sometimes, the employee can still sue if the employer does not have worker's compensation insurance. However, your note indicates that you are receiving benefits, including payment to your doctor. So, more likely than not, worker's compensation will be your exclusive remedy for the injuries you suffered.

    However, it never hurts to talk the situation over with a worker's compensation attorney just to make sure.

    Best wishes for your recovery.

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