Protect Your Job & WagesWritten by Susan Chana Lask, Esq.
When people call me about employment issues they don't realize one important law- in almost every state you are terminable at will. That means that your employer can fire you anytime and for no reason at all. The only way you are protected from being fired on spot without notice is if you have a contract of employment. A contract of employment must be in writing and should specify your length of employment, salary, terms of employment, vacation, bonus calculations, basis of termination and any warnings to be given (make it at least 3 warnings if you can) prior to termination and must be signed by your employer, among other things.
Now, most people never get employment contracts because their employers do not want to lose right to terminate you with or without cause. But there is a saving grace--if your employer wrote an intial offer of employment letter and you commenced employment based on that letter, you can use terms in that letter as your contract of employment. Hopefully letter spells out your salary and length of employment because there are cases where if your fired before end of term in that letter than you can be due balance of your salary for that term. So, if your salary was $40,000 for year and offer of employment letter states your term is 1 year then if your fired in first 2 months, your due balance of 10 months salary. And if your employer has an Employee Handbook with rules and regulations therein (usually terms of termination, warnings, vacation pay) then that Handbook is also a binding "contract" of employment. Read terms of your Handbook because it may spell out how and when you can be terminated which may or may not be good for you depending on whether or not it limits employer's liability for terminating you. On other hand, if Handbook has terms regarding certain pre-warning procedures before terminating you an dthose procedures were not followed , then you can enforce those procedures as terms of your contract. If your employer breached those terms he most likely must re-instate your employment and follow those procedures before terminating you.
The most important part of your employment is getting paid, so if your employer fires you and refuses to pay you what you understand to be due you, then use your Offer Letter and Employee Handbook as your "contract" of employment. The employer must follow any terms in those documents. There are also labor laws in each state that require payment for overtime, limited hours of work for certain jobs and notice of your termination date and your health insurance termination dates and proper notice is required as to how to extend your health benefits ("COBRA"). Also, law specify that an employer must pay you at least every two weeks, so if your fired and employer doesn't send your last check to you on time an dholds it back-he violated labor laws and can be held liable to you for extra money you pay to recover your wages.
Filing a Simple BankruptcyWritten by Susan Chana Lask, Esq.
We all know times are tough and, for some of us, bills are getting harder to pay each month. If debts you owe are more than what you can afford, you should read on.
Filing a bankruptcy can be answer to your problems. A bankruptcy is a way to discharge your debts completely so you can have a fresh start in your financial and personal life. You can only file a bankruptcy once every 6 years and once filed, it can become part of your credit history
Before filing, you want to know two things: 1) that your monthly expenses (i.e. rent, phone, medical payments and just about anything else paid by you for living expenses of you and your family) are more than your monthly net income and 2) that your assets (all property you own at its current market value) are worth less than your liabilities (that is, debts you presently owe and that you will list in your bankruptcy petition).
The next step in filing a bankruptcy is to have actual petition prepared. The petition is an extensive document listing all of your income, assets and liabilities as well as other information with respect to your financial history. You must list all of creditors that you owe money to and want to be discharged from that debt. Any creditor that you do not list will always remain your creditor. For example, you may want to keep one of your credit cards if you do not list that credit card company on your petition then you can continue to use that line of credit (of course, you will continue to make your monthly payments for that credit card).
Your petition will be filed in bankruptcy court for about a $150.00 fee. The moment your petition is filed an automatic stay is in place that means your creditors listed in petition must stop their collection procedures during your bankruptcy proceeding.