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Susan Lee Beecher

Susan Beecher’s Answers

209 total

  • I have been with the same emplyer for 12 years. clean record no write ups etc they fired me for no reasson at all can they do th

    I have been with the same employer for 12 years with a clean record and noting in my employee file. Can they fire me for no reasson at all

    Susan’s Answer

    To add to what the Illinois attorney wrote, they can terminate you for no reason at all, so long as it is not an illegal reason (illegal discrimination, or in retaliation for you exercising your statutory rights, for example). However, unless they can show that they terminated you for misconduct, you should be able to collect unemployment.

    If you are denied employment, act quickly to appeal, as the window for appeal is very short. If you are denied, I would also recommend getting help from an attorney at that point. If you "blow" the administrative hearing, there is little chance of recovering on further appeal.

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  • IS it legal to do management duties while being paid hourly? i.e no manager on site for 2 weeks and performing all tasks?

    doing management functions without being exempt.

    Susan’s Answer

    Adding to what the other attorney wrote, I'm not sure why you would want to be classified as exempt. As a non-exempt employee, you must be paid overtime (time-and-a-half) if you work more than 40 hours per week. If you were classed as exempt, you could be worked any number of hours for only 40 hours pay. There are some benefits to being classified as exempt, mostly having to do with how sick time and vacation time is calculated, but for most people, the benefits of being paid overtime (or not being worked more than 40 hours per week) far outweigh these.

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  • Can my wife be fired? part 2

    This is a follow up question to So do companies have a way to see if employees are working for other companies? Such a...

    Susan’s Answer

    This is not a legal question, however, I will provide some thoughts.

    Employers can run a credit check which may disclose employment.
    There are paid databases that disclose employment (LexisNexis has one, for example)
    The other employee friend might have slipped.
    The employer might have been tipped off by the reference check.
    A coworker or a supervisor might have been in the other business as a customer and might have seen your wife working there.

    There are many legal ways the employer could have found out. I would not be too quick to assume the friend told on her.

    I also don't see any legal remedies for your wife here.

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  • Do I have a case??

    Prior to leaving my employer my boss and I requested a ergonomic chair for a medical need. This chair was never purchased. He asked about 4-5 times and the HR director just seemed to look the other way. I was the number 1 sales rep in my co, I hav...

    Susan’s Answer

    First, if you have only just gotten notice that your unemployment has been denied, get quickly to an attorney and appeal it. Your case is a good example of why it is helpful to have an attorney assist you in your unemployment hearing. If you have gotten key evidence in, you should be able to have that overturned, but if not, you may not have grounds for an appeal. But don't delay; the window to appeal is very brief.

    Second, Washington's laws regarding reasonable accommodation for disabilities are a lot more employee-friendly that the federal laws. Speak with an employment law attorney. The details make all the difference, so I can say that you MAY have a case, but you would need to review your case in depth with an employment law attorney to determine whether you DO have a case.

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  • I am an hourly supervisor sears. My manager ask me to stay 2 hours daily, after clocking out, to recap the day.

    is this legal?

    Susan’s Answer

    Unless you are in management (have the right to make important management decisions such as hiring and firing people) you are not an exempt employee. Exempt employees are almost never hourly. And if you are not an exempt employee, then this is not legal.

    Why does your manager think it should take two hours to "recap" one work day? Is he or she having you do additional work while recapping? Or is this blossoming into a sexual harassment case?

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  • I am forced to ask permission to use the bathroom at work and am told if the spvsr thought it was too long. Is this legal?

    I don't need a replacement in order to go to the bathroom but I have to ask one supervisor. She comments on the length of my bathroom going and I am very uncomfortable with the situation. When I complained to HR they sent my email to this superv...

    Susan’s Answer

    It is insanely foolish management, but based on the facts you have presented, it's probably legal.

    However, if you are working an eight hour shift, your employer is required by law to give you at least one (unpaid) half hour lunch break and at least two (paid) ten minute breaks. If you can take care of your bathroom visits within these breaks, they have no right to comment. If you are not getting these breaks, you have a right to ask your employer for them. (Easier said than done, I know.)

    Also, if you need more frequent bathroom visits because of a disability, and your employer is aware of the disability, you may have a right to complain about lack of reasonable accommodation.

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  • I want to import and sell a chocolate treat from Switzerland in the USA (Seattle area). What steps do I need to take?

    Do I need to have a Business license? Does the product need to be individually labeled with ingredients? Does someone need to approve the import first (FDA)? Thanks!

    Susan’s Answer

    Step one is indeed to form an entity (LLCs and corporations have long been available in Washington and LLPs have been added; an attorney can help you determine what's best for you.) Forming the entity itself is easy, but you also need the proper internal paperwork (such as an operating agreement for an LLC, or bylaws for a corporation).

    Step two is to obtain an EIN from the IRS. If you are going to be an S-corp, you also need to file a 2553 with the IRS.

    Step three is to file your master business license with the State of Washington. This can be done on line, and if you opt for "do-it-yourself" setup of your business, I would recommend you do it on line and print copies of the receipts. Those on-line receipts can be used to prove you have applied for a license, so that you can open your business bank account right away.

    Step four is to find a licensed customs broker and consult with him or her. Customs brokers are licensed by the federal authorities (CBP) following a rigorous examination. (I've never taken one, but I've been told they are at least as difficult as a bar exam.) A customs broker, and not an attorney, is the right person to help you make sure you are square with the FDA and other federal agencies before you begin importing. The best part about this is that customs brokers charge much less than attorneys.

    Good luck with your importing. (How can you go wrong with chocolate!)

    (I'm going to check the box indicating that you should hire an attorney, but that refers to the formation of your company, not to the work that you should have a customs broker help you with.)

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  • Discipline & possible termination of a salaried employee?

    Small bus. owner. Had to suspend Mgr. a week w/o pay. Have had several performance issues (all documented). Recently lost complete set of work keys and mis-handled call in procedures. Would it be legal for me to "demote" the Mgr. to his or...

    Susan’s Answer

    Well, I AM licensed in Washington, so let me take a stab at answering your questions.

    It sounds at though the issues you have with this employee relate to competence rather than misconduct. It is perfectly legal for you to demote or terminate someone who is incompetent to do the job they currently hold. It does not matter whether or not the employee is salaried, or a manager. As a practical matter, though, give some thought to what kind of performance you will receive from this employee if you demote.

    Many business owners are understandably shocked to learn that if they fire someone for being incompetent, the fired employee will qualify for unemployment compensation. In order to have a claim denied, the employee must be fired for misconduct, or must have voluntarily left work for an unacceptable reason. (Example of an acceptable reason; pay cut by more than 25%)

    You may want to give some thought to the recent run of incompetence and try to determine what is behind it. Has this employee always been like this? If this is a new development, what's behind it? If the employee has developed an illness or is having personal problems at home, you may need to accept the fact that unemployment will be paid if you terminate. It may even be possible to help the employee get through the problem and return to previous levels of competence. But if you discover and can prove that the behavior is intentional, this may be misconduct.

    Good luck. Sometimes it is better to just pay the higher unemployment premiums than it is to have an employee on board who will unwittingly hurt your business.

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  • Do i need a family lawyer?

    my mother in las vegas has been living with a man for 15 yrs and they're not married. she has late stage parkinson's disease and she no longer wants him to care for her. she wants me to take her back to the philippines and help care for her. can ...

    Susan’s Answer

    I;m very sorry about your mother's illness.

    I'm not licensed in Nevada, so to be on the safe side, you might want to post this question to the Nevada attorneys (even though you are in Washington).

    That said, I think I can safely say that unless a court has determined that your mother is unable to make decisions for herself and has named her companion as her guardian, she is free to return to the Philippines with you and he cannot legally stop her from going.

    If he has been named her guardian, in that case you will need a Nevada attorney. If he has not been named her guardian but tries to stop her from going anyway, call the police.

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  • As a salaried employee in Washington State; what is the maximum hours my employer can legally make me work?

    My employer has required me to work 16 hour days, including weekends, for the last month; is this legal as I am a salaried employee?

    Susan’s Answer

    Your employer can make you work long hours, but unless your are also an exempt employee, the employer must pay you time-and-a-half for all hours over 40 that you work in any given week.

    Many employers (and also employees) confuse "exempt" with "salaried". Being salaried means you are paid a specific amount per month without regard to how many working days there are that month. Being exempt means you belong to a specific class of employees that need not be paid overtime (among other things). You may be exempt if you are a manager (but you must truly have management authority; this will not apply to supervisors who have a "manager" title). You may also be exempt if you are a professional (this is why first year associates in many law firms get assigned 80 hours weeks with no extra pay). Check the Labor and Industries website for the complete list of job descriptions that are exempt, or check with an attorney about your particular job.

    If you are not exempt, your employer owes you overtime pay for the extra hours over 40 that you have worked. To calculate overtime due, your employer should divide your monthly salary by the number of regular hours worked to arrive at an hourly rate. Multiply that hourly rate by 150% and then multiply by the number of hours worked over 40 in any given week.

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