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Sonia A Montalbano

Sonia Montalbano’s Answers

6 total

  • Potential wrongful termination suit

    I have been employed with Acme for over two years. The CEO of this company is known to fire anyone who looks at her funny and is known to never lay off anyone as that would be unemployment. I have 1.5 weeks of vacation rollover from last year. The...

    Sonia’s Answer

    Since they terminated you, your check is due the next business day, unless you agree they can mail it. As for whether your termination was wrongful, employees can be terminated at any time, so long as it is not for an illegal reason. If you think you were terminated because of your race, religion, sexual orientation, disability (to name a few protected classes), you may have a claim. If you were terminated just because the CEO doesn't like you, or because you were leaving and she didn't want to have to pay you vacation that had been approved, that's probably legal. However, you should apply for unemployment. Unless they can demonstrate you were terminated for misconduct related to your job, you should get it. If you don't have any prior disciplinary actions, that may be difficult for them to prove. Make sure you tell the employment department you were leaving but your approved vacation before doing so was likely the real basis for your termination. That isn't misconduct, so you should be able to get unemployment.

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  • I was asked not to finish my last 2 weeks at work after I gave notice. What is my "last day"? When should I receive final pay?

    I gave my employer 2 weeks final notice, worked the following day, then was asked not to complete the work week due to weather. That weekend I got an email saying they no longer had work for me, I didn't need to complete my final work days, & acce...

    Sonia’s Answer

    You may have a claim for failure to pay wages on termination. You should have been paid your wages by the end of the next business day that your employment ended, which was when they told you they no longer needed you to work. You are entitled to penalties for the time they did not pay you, in the amount of your hourly wage (even if you were paid on salary), multiplied by 8, and multiplied by the number of days you were not paid. You are also entitled to your attorney fees. You should definitely contact an attorney.

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  • I just want to know if in the state of Oregon can an employer ask me about my children and siblings in an interview?

    Also he is claiming because he only has single coverage he is not required to give breaks? Can an employee be let go for being pregnant?

    Sonia’s Answer

    While the question seems harmless, and often is, I advise my clients who are employers to avoid asking questions that could be viewed as an attempt to get information they are not otherwise entitled to ask, and that could be the basis for discrimination in the hiring process. You cannot discriminate against someone based on their marital status, so the question about being married could be have a discriminatory motive. Also, many employers ask this question when they suspect someone is homosexual and want to avoid hiring them. If you don't get the job and feel that there was no other reason for their not hiring you, you may want to contact an attorney. It would be helpful before calling if you learned if the employer hired someone who was married.

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  • Can an employer terminate me in order to avoid paying my accrued vacation?

    I am leaving the company in the next month or so. I have 3 weeks vacation left to use. Can the employer terminate me (due to right to work laws) and prevent me from taking this accrued vacation?

    Sonia’s Answer

    Unless your employer has a clear policy that says unused vacation is not paid on termination (often called a "use it or lose it" policy), you are owed the accrued time when terminated. If their policy is a use it or lose it policy, they can terminate you for any reason that is not "unlawful". Generally this applies to claims for things such as discrimination. However, an argument could be made that firing you to avoid paying you wages you have earned is unlawful. You should look to the policy and see what it says, and then contact an attorney when you have that information.

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  • Employer moved me from a compressed workweek with shift Differential to day shift, I lose hundreds of dollars each month, sue?

    We were told it is until the end of the year, now we are not moving back to our shifts. When I asked to go back to a compressed workweek or nights they said no. Other people that also moved kept their same pay while on days and have gone back to t...

    Sonia’s Answer

    Whether or not to sue is always a challenging question. The answer is "it depends". If your employer is treating you differently based on a discriminatory motive, such as race, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, or other protected class, then you may have a claim. If they made the decision based on a non-discriminatory reason, such as cost cutting, then you may not have a claim. You will bear the burden of proving a discriminatory motive, and then your employer has to demonstrate a non-discriminatory basis for their action. You then have to demonstrate that the reason given is simply a pre-text for discrimination. I suggest you call the Bureau of Labor and Industries Civil Rights Division and run the situation by them. They often a good first step for employees who aren't sure if they have a claim.

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  • Do I stand a chance in court against old gym?

    The gym told me I had to give them 30 days written notice to cancel my contract. I did this, as I lost my job and was moving three hours north to live with my parents in Ohio. A week later, they come back with "you can only cancel with a pay stub...

    Sonia’s Answer

    The answer to your question depends on the language of the contract you signed. If there is no requirement in the contract that you provide the proof they are asking for, then you have no obligation to do so. It is unlikely they would actually bring any sort of lawsuit against you, especially without language in the contract requiring you to provide the proof they are requesting. It sounds like they are just trying to bully you. If they persist, tell them you will report their demands to the Oregon Attorney General's Office of Consumer Protection. You can also check on that website online and see if others have made similar complaints. if so, I suggest you report their conduct. If they do pursue it, contact the Oregon State Bar Lawyer referral Service and ask for a lawyer who specializes in Consumer Protection claims.

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