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  • Termination Nightmare

    I had a year and a half employee being paid $25/hr (damn good i see) that I had to recently terminate in a difficult way due to insubordination, passive/aggressive behaviors and threats of abandonment (I live alone). She said I owed her 5 more days and she is a victim of descrimination. I could see her position on the situation (time, not descrimination) and in good faith I complied with a letter relinquishing any future requests for compensation, etc.

    She said she won't cash the check (cause she knows it would end it) and is threatening legal action.

    She was off the books and is threatening that exposure as well.

    She was only 5.5 hrs./week, 2 hrs Sat AM, 3.5 hrs Sun AM.

    Any advice, ever been there?

    She's unstable and has me a bit frightened.

  • #2
    I'd see about getting a protection order & much better replacement ASAP

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    • #3
      Time will tell. Most are just threats. let her vent her issues and she'll go away.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by crags View Post
        I had a year and a half employee being paid $25/hr (damn good i see) that I had to recently terminate in a difficult way due to insubordination, passive/aggressive behaviors and threats of abandonment (I live alone). She said I owed her 5 more days and she is a victim of descrimination. I could see her position on the situation (time, not descrimination) and in good faith I complied with a letter relinquishing any future requests for compensation, etc.

        She said she won't cash the check (cause she knows it would end it) and is threatening legal action.

        She was off the books and is threatening that exposure as well.

        She was only 5.5 hrs./week, 2 hrs Sat AM, 3.5 hrs Sun AM.

        Any advice, ever been there?

        She's unstable and has me a bit frightened.
        crags, I don't have any answers but I'm hoping someone else can help. Do I have it right that you've paid her about $11k in the last 18 months without doing the social security/medicare paperwork & contributions?

        Here's what one reputable site says:
        Many home health aides will represent themselves as independent contractors, ostensibly relieving the hiring individual of these tax obligations. However, it is the responsibility of the hiring individual to be sure that the aide truly is an independent contractor and is therefore paying their own taxes.
        source

        So, she does kind of have you in a bad spot--but I doubt she'd go through with the legal stuff, because she probably didn't tell the IRS about this cash deal herself.

        What does she want from you?

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        • #5
          the safety issue is number one. If you really feel threatened, you need to contact the authorities.

          count your blessings that she didn't have an accident or some bad back crap that she's coming after you've about. I wouldn't worry about the IRS too much. you can always file late and pay the penalties.

          I would not talk to her anymore. With these kinds of people, answering her phone calls usually just encourages their belligerence. Keep a diary of any further interactions and keep things in writing if you need to communicate further.

          good luck. I've been in the same situation and its sucks

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          • #6
            Her principal grievance was that she was not paid until the end of a period that she thought was "agreed" upon (she doesn't know what "at will" employment means). Nothing legal, just the time when my other aide was returning from vacation. So, I paid her the extra five days but accompanied it with a certified letter and statement on the back of the check that this amount represents the amount requested as agreed upon for her termination and that by signing the check she will forgo any claim on past or future monies. Her antenna went up when she read this and she call, screaming that she will not cash the check and that now the grievance is discrimination. So far no more phone calls and we will just have to wait to see if they need for money overrides her anger and she signs the check. That signature is going to burn her up I am sure.

            If need be I can pay the back Social Security taxes (it amounts to about1,000), but she will have to pay her Social Security taxes, federal withholding and state withholding. And you can be sure that I will be doing everything I can (I will let her know) to make sure that every agency that may be giving her assistance, from Medicaid, school lunch to SCHIP, knows about her unreported income. Hopefully she won't be claiming workplace injury as I didn't carry workers comp or disability on her. I have another employee fully on the books and it is a big relief to know you are covered from such extortion.

            We're just going to have to wait this one out and see.

            It is a most frightening episode. Frightening in the respect that my dependency got in the way of what deep inside I felt was a problem very early on in the relationship. I've always felt that conflicts will arise and that it is possible to move on. But, there are some conflicts, especially when they are regular occurrence, and the way certain things are said that fundamental lines have been crossed and you need to act quickly. For if you don't, you can find yourself in a potentially very dangerous situation, be it physical, financial, or otherwise, such as identity theft or assault/vandalism for hire. There are lots of gangs that will vandalize or assault for hire. It simply one of their lines of business.

            The warning signs were there. It is truly disappointing to have waited this long.

            I pray she just fades away. I don't think she will be using me for reference any time soon. I truly took good care of her (paid for two months rest while having a child) and to her last breath, she continued to scream that I needed to take better care of her and show her more respect. This woman is the type of person whom we all know that wherever she goes there is conflict. As soon as you observe this about a person and experience it for yourself do not assume that you can change this type of person and have a different type of relationship. The odds are heavily against you.

            Will keep you all posted.

            Thanks for the feedback.

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            • #7
              what discrimonation is she refuring too? just nosey. you should just let her do what she threatens. doubt it will pan out for her. she is just grasping at straws. sounds like you were a fair employer.

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              • #8
                Did you have a written contract with her? This helps in circumstances like this. She is in as much trouble as you if she did not pay taxes or report her income to authorities if she is on welfare, so I suspect that is an foundationless threat.

                If you gave her a key, I hope you had your locks changed, even if she gave it back. Easy to make a copy, then come back and rip you off or worse.

                If she is threatening you, in most states you can also report her to Adult Protective Services (APS) since as a PWD, you are in a "protected' class.

                (KLD)
                The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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                • #9
                  So far it has been one week since the termination and six days since the last phone harassment. The check still has not been cashed and I anxiously await to see when that occurs. For when she endorses that check she forgoes any opportunity for redress, not that she had any anyway.

                  I just finished listening to a nice audio book called Helping, How to Offer, Give, and Receive Help. It just happened to catch my eye while in the library. While much of the audio book is geared towards relationships in the business setting, there were some extremely relevant segments that really hit home in my situation. The author explains how relationships in which one party who needs help, especially consistently, and the other party who provides help have unique dynamics that are prone to dysequilibrium, especially from the party who is providing the help and has the power.

                  It is how people utilize this power which will determine the health of a relationship and its stability.

                  Very interesting information, easy listening. Highly recommended.

                  So, I am in a quiet period, waiting and hoping that her need for cash overrides her anger and vindictiveness and she cashes the check. Hopefully there are some people around her which will advise her to do likewise and move on.

                  Over the years, I have gotten much more specific about description of duties and responsibilities with employees. One lesson I have learned from this is that I need to get even more specific with expectations of overall behavior.

                  And also not to be overly generous too soon with benefits other than work pay until you're convinced of the health of the relationship and certainly not after you see evidence of relationship dysfunction.

                  For it is clear to me now that what was intended to be expressions of appreciation were interpreted to be signs of weakness.

                  As far as locks go, I have used Multi-Lock brand cylinders for over 10 years. It is the highest security cylinder made and utilizes a unique tumbler design. But most of all, in order to make a copy of the key you must go to a Multi-Lock authorized dealer, of which there are not that many, and present your personal multi-lock authorization card. That card has your unique key cutting settings and other identifiers. The dealer is required to ask for additional identification to prove you are the holder of the card. I keep my card in a safe.

                  Therefore, if one uses multi-lock cylinders and you get the key back and your card has been absolutely secured over time, you can rest assured that that person has been unable to make any duplications.

                  You can check out the multi-lock website for more information on their keys. Highly recommended.

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                  • #10
                    Received a notice to appear in court for allegations of sexual harassment and not giving her two weeks notice. Wants $2,600.

                    I think she's probably done this before. Classic extortion.

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                    • #11
                      sounds like a clasic 'user' to me. Sorry you're having so much trouble!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by crags View Post
                        Received a notice to appear in court for allegations of sexual harassment and not giving her two weeks notice. Wants $2,600.

                        I think she's probably done this before. Classic extortion.


                        Were you at any point 'involved'? Why the sexual harassment?

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                        • #13
                          I made that mistake 17 years ago. I was still young in age and disability maturity. It was genuine caring, but nonetheless a mistake in retrospect. Never again. Once the relationship changes character, if it doesn't work out, the working part will be impossible to salvage and you open yourself up to problems as suggested.

                          Fast forward. About three years ago I was looking for an aide in the morning. One of the women I interviewed was a striking replica of a woman that previously worked for me mentioned above. A very attractive woman with classic Brazilian/Portuguese features, such as great long black hair (I digress). I was so scared that I would make the same mistake again that I would not hire her because of that reason. However, when the first hire did not work out after six months, I decided to try her, as she lived close and was still available and willing.

                          It has been three years now and the woman is excellent at her job and we have a wonderful working relationship. We are close in terms of sharing our life's experiences with each other, but not that close. The boundaries are there. I have never told her why I didn't hire her the first time as I would not want to risk the relationship in any way, though in a way it is a compliment to her beauty. Perhaps I'll tell her sometime in the future if she needs to move on to another job which I hope doesn't happen anytime soon. I now realize I have learned my lesson.

                          In a way I feel lucky having such an attractive woman in my house every day. And I think she appreciates my interest in, and respect for her family and their activities. We always talk about her two teenage boys and I try to share with her all my mistakes that I made when I was their age. Mistakes that led to other mistakes down the road, including my SCI. I have matured in this respect because I know how damaging such an experience can be for the dependent disabled person as well as for the woman who has to deal with any fallout with a spouse, significant other, or children. This can be serious and must be avoided at all costs.

                          Anyway, back to the question. No there never was that issue with the present situation. I found her so repulsive from the very beginning that such feelings were never even a remote possibility. In fact, I think I got physically ill hiding my deeply held dissatisfaction inside for a year and a half while subjecting myself to threatening behaviors and intimidation. That is another lesson I painfully learned.

                          I will keep you posted on the outcome.

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                          • #14
                            Today was judgment day and I had to face the employee from hell in small claims court. A very discouraging experience from the point of hearing so many lies being told about me. We went before a mediator at which time the employee was told that she had no documentable proof of the damages requested and that harassment charges are not heard in small claims court. Despite this, the employee said that it was her word against mine and that she was willing to go before a judge with her claim for $2,600. I had brought my father, as well as two of my present home health aides down as witnesses, both of whom had to take time from their other jobs and lives to be there. Going before the judge would have meant staying in the court until the afternoon, as well as keeping these two witnesses/employees all day in court despite their other obligations.

                            When asked if there is anything I would be willing to do I offered $450 to spare spending all day in court and be rid of her. She requested 500 and I accepted. I slapped my hand on the desk and said "deal". I know that irritated her big time. All told, I feel I got off with minimal damage considering her mental instability. She seems to have done this before, but at least I am now free of this person. Everything that I said, she said was a lie, so the mediation was going nowhere. I had good documentation for subjective credibility, but not specific enough for quasi contractual details.

                            It truly was a nuisance lawsuit and she basically bought herself some going away money. God help the unsuspecting person that hires her next. I don't feel very good about appeasing her to some degree, but I know she left very angry at not having gotten what she wanted, as well as having to sign the waiving of any future claim.

                            I have been employing people for 21 years and one continues to learn. The lessons I learned from this, aside from the psychological ones, that contributed to my somewhat weak position in court or the following:
                            1. Have a signed understanding agreement with the employee outlining tasks, days, hours and rate of pay- I did not have this and I would have been better off with one as she was lying about the hours and rate of pay.
                            2. Have the employee sign a ledger with the date and amount received-this would have undercut her position when she claimed that I had not paid her for weeks on end, also an untruth.

                            Even if an employee is cash and off the books, both of these things are reasonable and anybody who will not agree to these should be considered suspect. Although I can see people who are working off the books not wanting to do it. Trust is the main thing and in the relationship I just had it was lost a long time ago. The cumulative effect was visible for all to see.

                            Additionally, one should keep accurate records of all employees in terms of incidents, days off, extra compensation (time/money), difficult conversations, etc.. Do not wait to try and re-create a log of events as one does not know when it will be needed. This may not be needed for all employees to the same degree, but it should be a priority as soon as indications warrant such documentation.

                            Hopefully, this will be the end and she will not be dragging me into civil court for allegations of sexual harassment. However, the standard for that case will be much higher and I don't think she will have such a ready supply of lawyers willing to take on her case pro bono, since she has no money to speak of.

                            She even brought up the issue of digital simulation during my bowel routine and try to link that somehow to harassment as if I was getting sublime pleasure from such activities.

                            Truly sad to witness.

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                            • #15
                              I'm so sorry you had to endure this. I wish I could advise hiring through agency to avoid this kind of torment, but I've found agency owners to be no more ethical or reliable. My constant hope is that the aging of baby boomers will require the industry to shape up some. I don't mean to paint with such a broad brush, because certainly I've had also phenomenal people helping me. But my experience weighs very heavily to the other extreme.

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