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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Angry Fired for Requesting Hours and Other Payroll Info

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: MN

    I was recently fired for disputing the work hours I am being credited with for overtime purposes. The reason given on my warning/termination notice was "Refusing to document and turn in his hours"

    Unemployment benefits were disputed by my employer initially but after a month of forms and correspondence with MN Unemployment office (DEED), I was approved for benefits. The reason why I was not denied benefits was generally "..not fired for misconduct" and "..was only disputing his hours, not refusing to document them or turn them in"

    In addition to the above, for the 2 years prior to this I have been continuously shorted hours, shorted piece work pay, paid reduced piece work rates, and not properly compensated with per diem payments, etc.. I have made repeated claims to my employer in verbal form, by email and via letter with no resolution.

    After my termination I requested in writing a copy of my personnel record and did eventually receive a partial copy which was also late according to MN statute. The copy of my personnel record contained absolutly no documentation of payroll calculation which should have included piece work rates and changes, hours worked, rate of pay, deductions, etc.. My paycheck stubs also do not have this information. They only have a total gross pay times a rate of 1 and then the withholding. Per diem payments were also only deducted form gross pay and then added back to the final net. In essence, not increasing my pay for my per diem claimed, but only making the amount non-taxable on my check. Per diem was is excess of $9,000. The rate shortages and overtime is conservatively in the area of $8000 - $10000 over the 2 year period.

    There is another issue of initially being misclassified as an independent contractor for the first 4 months of my employment. I was then converted to an employee with a signed at-will employment contract. This contract also has a reference to a rate sheet in regards to compensation that is not included with the signed contract.

    My questions finally:
    1- Because I am denied access to my full personnel record in order to accurately calculate the backwages due me, do I have a claim for back wages if I can't calculate a specific compensation total? The only total I can accurately document is the per diem payments.

    2- Do I have to file in civil court for access to my full personnel record (if it exists) before continuing with a suit for back wages?

    3- Do I have any kind of claim for wrongful termination?
    In essence I was fired for requesting back pay and stating I would pursue other remedies if necessary. The unemployment office might have partially confirmed this in their approval statement.

    Thanks in advance for any answers or opions offered.

    (You're probably wondering, why would you stay working for this company? Believe me, I have asked myself that question many times and have been looking for a different job for quite awhile. If not for the financial hardship, being fired might actually be something of a blessing, forcing me to move on. I know my stress level is reduced dramatically)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    Default Re: Fired for Requesting Hours and Other Payroll Info

    Do you have some cite which states that payroll records are considered "payroll records" under whatever law you are stating applies? The ONLY state I know of where time cards are, by law, considered payroll records, is California. Generally speaking, time cards and other payroll records, including the calculations used to arrive at your pay, are NOT considered personnel records.

    1. You do not have to have the time cards or payroll records to file a wage claim. Make your best estimate. The employer would have to show that they paid you in accordance with the law and that you are therefore not due the additional pay you are claiming.

    2. If you file a civil claim for the back wages, the payroll records can be subpoenaed. Otherwise, see #1.

    3. In my opinion, if the amount you are owed is even close to what you think it is, you should be filing a civil claim, not a wage claim. I have no idea what "per diem" you are talking about and how that fits into your compensation package.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Fired for Requesting Hours and Other Payroll Info

    Thanks for your response.
    Minn. Stat. 177.30 paragraph (a) subp(2) and (3) mention an employer keeping pay records for rate of pay, hours worked per day and weekly. The length of 3 years is mentioned elsewhere.

    Minn. Stat. 181.961 Subd 2 paragraph (c) specifically mentions the right to review and obtain a copy of a personnel record

    Minn. Stat. 191.960 Subd 4 is the specific definition of Personnel Record and mentions wage or salary history, deduction or withholding, and attendence records

    I was thinking I would have to file a civil action to force my former employer to hand over these records. If I can just estimate back wages it would definately save some time.

    To be safe, is there a set amount to go by if the back wages are a rough estimate? In other words, should I automatically double the amount I think is close or are there court rules in place for excessive claims? I want to be sure that I am not limited by what I claim in the summons and complaint.

    The per diem I mention is for out of town travel on any given day. Alot of times I had to drive 55 miles to another town where I worked that day. I was supposed to be paid $60 for each day I did this to cover the extra 2 1/2 hours of commute and fuel going back and forth. Instead of adding this amount to my check, they just made a matching portion of my pay non-taxable.

    This doesnt seem right but I can't find a MN statute or rule that covers this.

    In the past I had been paid a $30 per diem for travel to a different closer city, and this was actually added to my check.

    Is there any reason I can't file both a claim for back wages and a separate claim for wrongful termination to include loss of income?

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