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Patrick John Phillips

Patrick Phillips’s Answers

1,656 total


  • Gone 2dys, fired for abandonment. I suspect i was really fired bc my manager mishandled the aftermath of a crash, now face suit.

    So i was fired after 2 days of MIA, from a remote outside sales position. I think they recently got notified they were being sued for negligence in regards to a collision I was partially at fault in the week prior. My first concern is un...

    Patrick’s Answer

    Most private sector employment is purely "at will" and as such can be terminated at any time for any reason not amounting to discrimination on the basis of a legally protected trait (race, religion, gender, etc) or retaliation for engaging in certain protected activity (filing a workers comp claim, taking FMLA leave, etc.), regardless of whether the basis for termination is fair, reasonable or true.

    Firing an employee because they went MIA and/or because they were involved in a car accident that has created employer liability is perfectly legal. In fact, it is a likely outcome. You may be able to collect unemployment benefits if you have a good explanation for why you went MIA. You stand nothing to lose if your UI claim is denied so the best course of action is to simply apply.

    Good luck.

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  • Can an employer take money back from an employee once a paycheck as been deposited or cashed?

    Employer is verbally accusing a terminated employee of not working the required number of hours. The final paycheck has already been issued and deposited into the employees bank. Can the employer obtain money back at that point without proof?

    Patrick’s Answer

    It sounds like your employer is claiming that you received money for work you did not perform. If this is the case, that additional money does not belong to you and is recoverable by the employer. However, they would likely need to file a lawsuit against you in small claims to get it back. Good luck.

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  • Sexual harassment

    I was accused of sexual harassment on a day I was not at work. Any legal advised?

    Patrick’s Answer

    It is still entirely possible to engage in sexual harassment on a day that you are not physically present at work (i.e. you send an inappropriate text message). However, if your absence from work is somehow definitive proof that you could not have engaged in the conduct you were accused of, then you should immediately bring this to the attention of HR. Good luck.

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  • How can I confirm my rehire status with my former employer?

    I feel my former employer may be giving negative responses to new potential employers when they inquire. I was a 15 year employee and was laid off from my former employer but just before I was laid off I got a new boss and we did not get along.

    Patrick’s Answer

    You can have someone call and pose as a prospective employer seeking a reference request. However, you should know that unless your former employer is making maliciously false statements of fact about you (i.e. stating that you were terminated for theft), it is not illegal for them to say unflattering things about you, or to indicate that you are "ineligible for rehire." Good luck in your search for employment.

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  • If I start my shift at 5am work until 130pm come back at 9pm same day and get off at 5:30am. is the second shift DT after 12hrs?

    currently our company says its only overtime because at 12am its considered a new day. I think its double time because I started two shifts in the same day and its still considered part of the days shift.

    Patrick’s Answer

    An employee is entitled to double-time for hours worked in excess of 12 hours in any workday and for hours worked in excess of eight on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek. If yourwork day begins at midnight, then determining your eligibility for double-time is a simple matter of counting how many hours you work between midnight and 11:59pm. The schedule your describe results in 11.5 hours being worked between midnight and 11:59pm, so there would be no double-time entitlement for this work.

    Good luck.

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  • How much should i be getting paid when i quit? I have 350 vacation hours. Company pays vacation time not hours, is that legal?

    Company Policy "During the 1st year of continuous service, eligible employees accrue vacation at a rate of one week per year. No vacation may be taken until completion of the first year of employment. During the 2nd trough seventh years of employm...

    Patrick’s Answer

    Your policy states: "Earned vacation time accrues to a maximum of 15 days. Once the maximum accrual amount has been reached, no additional vacation will be earned until previously accrued vacation time is used."

    According to this, it is impossible for you to have accrued 350 vacation hours. The most you could have accrued is 15 days. You would be entitled to payment for 15 vacation days, but no more.

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  • How can I save my job from being falsely accused.

    I am a full time security employee for an electric company called Smud for 24 years. I was placed on paid admin leave because another female employee pulled up to our guard shack in day light with many employees around, and filed a complaint sayin...

    Patrick’s Answer

    Most private sector employment is purely "at will" and as such can be terminated at any time for any reason not amounting to discrimination on the basis of a legally protected trait (race, religion, gender, etc) or retaliation for engaging in certain protected activity (filing a workers comp claim, taking FMLA leave, etc.), regardless of whether the basis for termination is fair, reasonable or true. This means you can lawfully be terminated based on a false accusation. The fact you are bipolar would be irrelevant unless you can prove that your employer has fabricated this incident to terminate you because of disability prejudice. However, you have not stated any facts to suggest this is the case and quite honestly it would be almost impossible to prove because your employer has an allegations of sexual misconduct to claim as the reason for their decision.

    It might be possible to assert a defamation claim against the accuser in her personal capacity, but you would be tasked with proving that her allegation was false. This would require you to present evidence in open court that you were not masturbating, and it would allow this woman to present evidence in open court that you were. Also, a jury will ask the obvious question, "Why would this woman lie?" Unless you have a very good reason (i.e. a romantic relationship gone bad) they will probably defer to what she claimed to see.

    I wish there were better options, but the law does not provide a right to be immune from allegations, nor does it protect you as an at will employee from unfair termination. Good luck to you.

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  • Is it true after a certain age, an employee cannot get fired? I've heard 63, but have only heard this without any real proof.

    A friend of mine has been in the food industry for over 40 yrs. and was terminated at age 64. I personally think it was because of his age; however, does he have any recourse?

    Patrick’s Answer

    There is no law that says you can't fire people over a certain age. If you think that through for a second, you'll realize that such law would effectively guarantee lifetime employment with no regard to the employee's performance or the employer's economic circumstances.

    What the law prohibits is terminating an employee BECAUSE of their age if the employee is 40 or older. However, the burden falls on the employee to prove that their age was the reason for the decision and not something else. Proving motivation can be very difficult.

    I hope this clarifies things for you. Good luck.

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  • Employer lowered pay without telling me and seems to be retaliating having not found wrong doing on my part...what legal course

    To add to the first question I posted about employer reducing my pay without telling me....this all started June 18th, 2015 when they called me into the office and tried accusing me of intentionally price marking down a item, which the owner had g...

    Patrick’s Answer

    Your employer believes you engaged in improper conduct. Regardless of whether they are correct, they have a right to lower your pay provided they notify you of the reduction. It seems they did this. Therefore, you are not describing facts which give rise to any legal causes of action against your employer. I am sorry.

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  • Do I need an attorney if my employer put me on paid administration leave for a questionable practice

    I was told that "narcotic administration practice" was investigatory. I practice the same way of administering narcotics like all the other staff to patients; why am I singled out. My manager stated she cannot say exactly what is going on but wi...

    Patrick’s Answer

    You do not have a right to be exempt from accusations of improper conduct, even if you believe that your employer is not investigating other employees who have engaged in similar conduct. Employment in the state of CA is "at will" absent an agreement, to the contrary, which means you can be terminated or disciplined at any time for any reason not amounting to discrimination on the basis of a legally protected trait (race, religion, gender, etc) or retaliation for engaging in certain protected activity (filing a workers comp claim, taking FMLA leave, etc.), regardless of whether the basis for termination is fair, reasonable or true. All you can do is continue to bear with your employer's investigation. It can never hurt to seek alternative employment in the mean time. Who knows, maybe you will find a better job.

    Good luck.

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