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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
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    2

    Default Wrongfully Classified and Harassed, Now No Unemployment

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

    I was working for a grooming salon as a dog groomer. I was classified as 'independent contractor' yet no rules for an independent contractor were ever followed. None of us had taxes taken from our pay. My tax person even questioned how I was paid because it looked off to her. Our pay was controlled by the owner. We had to work between these specific hours and certain days. We were not allowed to take time off, not even a weekend. To make matters worse, 3 of us ended up quitting due to the aforementioned issues and there was a family member working at this salon that was a convicted sex offender. He harassed and threatened all of us, and talked to us horribly. We quit due to the hostile environment and being treated so poorly and unethically. I have filed for unemployment and have been denied at least twice now. The owner was paying all of us on personal checks (like anyone would have with a bank account). The unemployment office questioned why I had sent copies of personal checks as my pay stubs. That was an issue but that was all I had. All of us have also filed a complaint with the IRS because of not being classified correctly so that investigation is currently ongoing. My question is; what rights do I have for unemployment? I had to quit because I did not feel safe working there, none of us did. Do I have any recourse at this point? Is there any higher up I can go to get unemployment paid to me? I worked there for over a year and prior to that as a groomer for 8 years.

    I appreciate any help or input.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    852

    Default Re: Wrongfully Classified and Harassed, Now No Unemployment

    If you have already been denied unemployment twice, you've used up most of your legitimate appeals. And that's all you get. So what rights do I have in unemployment? None, after you have used up all your appeals. There are generally three of them, the initial decision, the hearing decision and the board of review decision. It's very very hard to be approved for unemployment benefits when you quit a job. You must show that you have a VERY valid job related reason to quit the job, and that you had exhausted all reasonable alternatives to quitting before you quit.

    I suspect that with so many issues, such as being misclassified as a contractor, not being paid correctly, not given time off appropriately, and being harassed by a sex offender, you have simply hit the unemployment system with too many issues and what they ultimately found to be a poor argument for being approved, and you have lost by decision in two appeals now. There's always the board of review appeal, but they are very seldom successful for the appellant. If you still have time to file that appeal to the board of review, which is usually 15 days from the date you are notified that you are not approved after a hearing, you can file that appeal. It is filed in writing and you or the other party does not have to appear for a hearing. They mostly check to make sure that unemployment law was used correctly in the previous two decisions. Otherwise, your unemployment appeals are over and there's going to be nothing forthcoming in that area.

    Your huge mistake was to stay too long in a bad situation. It appears that by staying in the situation as long as a year, you were accepting the conditions and situation at this work. If it was as bad as you say, you should've started trying to get it fixed or get out immediately. I would never ever work a minute for someone who was misclassifying me as an independent contractor, as that could get you into severe problems with the IRS because you will end up owing taxes for your "private contracting" that you did. And they've already proven they're crooked before you even begin your association with them, what a surprise when they mess over you at every turn.

    If you get into something where you KNOW you're being misclassified, which you did, and you are also being harassed, and it happens over and over and over until "finally I just couldn't take it anymore!" you don't have much of an argument to be approved for unemployment.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    761

    Default Re: Wrongfully Classified and Harassed, Now No Unemployment

    ICs don't have any taxes taken out of checks. Paying with a personal check is not wrong.... So neither was incorrect in an IC situation. Also IC earnings are NOT reported to the state for unemployment purposes because it is not employment wages, so even if you left for "Good cause", you might not have enough earnings to get benefits until somehow you prove that they were incorrect is classifying you as an IC in the first place.

    IC classification depends on the specific details of your situation and you have not provided enough to know one way or the other. Were you allowed to do other clients grooming outside this salon? Did you purchase business insurance for yourself? Did you claim 1099 income on your income tax forms? Did you deduct your expenses on your personal annual income taxes? Who provided your supplies like tools and shampoo and towels? etc.

    Realize that if you didn't get an 1099 and you chose not to claim the income each year on your income tax forms and the IRS decides you should have been an employee, you will owe income tax on all that income without being able to deduct expenses of a small business like an IC can.

    here's a good article about dog groomers specifically: http://www.groomertogroomer.com/empl...nt-contractor/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    13,001

    Default Re: Wrongfully Classified and Harassed, Now No Unemployment

    Quote Quoting hr for me
    View Post
    ICs don't have any taxes taken out of checks. Paying with a personal check is not wrong.... So neither was incorrect in an IC situation. Also IC earnings are NOT reported to the state for unemployment purposes because it is not employment wages, so even if you left for "Good cause", you might not have enough earnings to get benefits until somehow you prove that they were incorrect is classifying you as an IC in the first place.
    I think that was the part of the main points. It does appear that the OP has been misclassified.

    IC classification depends on the specific details of your situation and you have not provided enough to know one way or the other. Were you allowed to do other clients grooming outside this salon? Did you purchase business insurance for yourself?
    While we cannot say for certain the things the OP did tell us lean in the favor of misclassification.

    Realize that if you didn't get an 1099 and you chose not to claim the income each year on your income tax forms and the IRS decides you should have been an employee, you will owe income tax on all that income without being able to deduct expenses of a small business like an IC can.

    here's a good article about dog groomers specifically: http://www.groomertogroomer.com/empl...nt-contractor/
    If the OP did not have any expenses then the OP cannot deduct them whether the OP is an IC or an employee. If the OP is an employee and had out of pocket expenses those expenses can be included on Schedule A, via Form 2106 if the OP has enough to itemize.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    1,113

    Default Re: Wrongfully Classified and Harassed, Now No Unemployment

    Quote Quoting MissMinnie
    View Post
    have been denied at least twice now.
    WHY are you being denied? That's where you start if you're trying to fix things.

    Quote Quoting MissMinnie
    View Post
    All of us have also filed a complaint with the IRS because of not being classified correctly so that investigation is currently ongoing.

    I had to quit . . . .
    That's TWO issues. One is monetary, and if you're being denied for that reason, the UI people aren't going to go further until you get those "wages" reclassified. The next issue is that you quit, and it needs to be for "good cause."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    852

    Default Re: Wrongfully Classified and Harassed, Now No Unemployment

    I am assuming that the quite likely thing happened, that the person was quickly determined to have been misclassified, and a claim was set up based on the wages that this OP had made in the appropriate quarters, as if they'd been a regular covered employee employee, with the money coming from the general unemployment pool that each state keeps set up. And then independently of this, the department goes after the private company for nonpayment of unemployment insurance taxes. The issue of whether a person has been misclassified very rarely goes past one quick appeal.

    So I was assuming that the unemployment people have gone further than those misclassified wages, have set up a claim monetarily and are now doing the appeals process based on the reason for separation. And if this is the case, at this point, the most massive restructuring of the whole "why I quit the job" in the board of review appeal will not help very much.

    But we don't have the precise information to make this call, do we?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    357

    Default Re: Wrongfully Classified and Harassed, Now No Unemployment

    To the OP:

    On the letter(s) you received that said you were denied a reason was given. What is that reason?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Wrongfully Classified and Harassed, Now No Unemployment

    Let me see if a I can answer all questions. I am a single mother so yes, I needed a paycheck in order to survive. The harassment got really bad the last 3-4 months we were all there. I provided all of my own equipment. I was not allowed to groom outside of the salon. My day was controlle by owner (all of our days were controlled by her). If she got angry with you, she would cut your grooms way down which sucked because that meant little to no pay. Yes, I had been questioning the pay all along but I wasn't sure until my tax preparer pointed out some odd things. Yes, I paid my own taxes and my own health insurance, none of that was provided. The paychecks are personal checks, there was no business name on them. I was denied for the reason of being paid as an IC was what I was told. I had to resend copies of the checks at least 3 times because the Unemployment office kept saying I was sending personal check copies, not employee checks. Getting us out of there was so bad, the police were there so we could get our things and go. Just so you get a clear picture.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    1,113

    Default Re: Wrongfully Classified and Harassed, Now No Unemployment

    Quote Quoting MissMinnie
    View Post
    I was denied for the reason of being paid as an IC was what I was told. I had to resend copies of the checks at least 3 times because the Unemployment office kept saying I was sending personal check copies, not employee checks.
    When you get a letter back from the UI people saying, "these don't look like real checks and you're not eligible," then you'll be able to appeal the decision, and get things in front of a real judge that will look at the checks, listen to your story, and might very well decide that you were really an employee, and then issue an order telling the UI people to use those check amounts to impute a base period for you. That will solve the monetary issue.

    Then, the next step will be to decide if you quit with good cause.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    852

    Default Re: Wrongfully Classified and Harassed, Now No Unemployment

    When and how is this supposed to happen? If you interpret "I have been denied at least twice now" as having had appeal decisions instead of just being asked for different checks, it changes things.

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