I recently witnessed fraudulent behavior by an employer and voiced my concern with his oversight of the company and his lack of ability to bring in sufficient capital which caused liability for myself as the company's CFO. The employer retaliated against me and I was terminated by this employer. The employer has refused to pay wages due, vacation accrued and expenses incurred by myself. Recently I sent a demand letter of my claims and the Employer has come back and has threatened to sue me for Breach of Fiduciary Duty. I have a couple of questions. Is this a common occurrence in labor/employment law? If I cannot afford an attorney what resources are available? What are ways to fight this as the employer is clearing using the threat of litigation to not pay my final wages. Appreciate any feedback on this topic thanks!
It is not uncommon for one party, threatened with litigation, to threaten back. This is especially true when one party has greater economic power over the other, such that the litigation, whether meritorious or not, would be crushingly expensive to prosecute and defend.
Regarding your retaliation and wage claim it would be wise for you to locate and consult with an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible to explore your facts and determine your options. I would suggest you look either on this site in the Find a Lawyer section, or go to www.cela.org, the home page for the California Employment Lawyers Association, an organization whose members are dedicated to the representation of employees against their employers.
Most employment attorneys who practice this area of law work offer a free or low cost consultation in the beginning and then, if the matter has merit and value, will usually agree to work on a contingency basis, meaning you can hire an attorney without paying any money until the matter results in a positive outcome for you. Many advance all the costs of the litigation as well. Do not let fear of fees and costs keep you from finding a good attorney.
Many attorneys would consider taking on a cross complaint as part of their engagement, perhaps for a greater contingency fee, depending on the perceived strength and complexity of the threatened cross complaint.
Good luck to you.
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Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for unscrupulous employers to threaten litigation to avoid paying meritorious wage/wrongful termination claims. You should consult with an employment attorney. You may find one that is willing to work with you on a contingency basis, including defense of the counterclaim.
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