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Employer fired me but is claiming I quit, harassment(?), has not paid me. Is this legal?

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I was working at a small clinical office, my manager is my uncles wife, and her employees are her sister-in-law and her son. Originally getting the job everything was great. I learned a lot and I made the office over 5k in 6 months.
Now, my manager seemed to like me. She would always compliment me on my customer service and talk about how much profit I made etc.

Then she hired her son in place of a previous employee,(that she had yelled at publicly in front of patients, and chased out the building, while patients recorded.)

Her son clearly didn't like me, he consistently belittled me in the workplace by calling me stupid, and created entire ordeals over slight mistakes in food/drink orders that I offered to go get each time I went on break.

My other co-worker began distancing herself from me and was constantly nitpicking each job I executed, and they both talked about me amongst eachother each time I walked away from my desk. Not in a secretive way, in a highschool petty way.

Here's where it begins:

I was late on this day to work and my manager called me screaming at me and I was taken aback because I have really bad anxiety and it was overwhelming (especially because it was a day we had no patients) when I enter the workplace she tells me put my belongings down and to come into her office.

As I entered, she began screaming at me about being late. She kept getting in my face and I felt really overwhelmed (especially because this was someone I had come to trust, my mistake.) I asked her to stop and she didn't, she wouldn't let me speak at all. I'm a very passive person and I wasn't sure of what to do in that moment at all, so I get up and say "I can't take this". She says "good" and I gather my belongings while she's following me out, claiming she's recording me. I was very nervous and holding many things and I end up tripping over my coat and slipping down the stairs. She then proceeded to scream at me saying she's going to call the police.

I was so shocked and confused and I have never had this happen in a work environment.

She then proceeded to call my mother, and after becoming concerned and questioning her about what happened, she called my mom a derogatory slur and called me a liar. She has not answered any texts/calls since then.

I did email her a lengthy apology, because it was the right thing to do I assumed. I ended it asking if she was firing me.

She replied claiming that I am not fired and that I said "I quit" which, I did not. She also decided to bring up many personal secrets as well as false accusations that had no business being put on a work-related email thread.
I then replied saying I did not say "I quit", I said "I can't take this," but she continued to deny that in the thread and claimed the "whole office" heard me (referring to her son and sister-in-law.)

This whole situation has me lost and confused, now it's two weeks later and I still didn't receive my pay for that week I worked. It was the holidays, so I assumed it would come later, but I see nothing on my Paychex app. I emailed her in regards to this (to her work email, which she in constantly active on) and she never responded.
I'm not sure where I should go with this, I didn't want to file a claim because I was personally connected to all of my co-workers on a familial level but it doesn't feel fair.
Also, I left out many triggering details, but she really got personal and unprofessional in her emails.

If anyone can help with advice on what to do. I deserve my pay for that week, and i don't think I was rightfully terminated. I didn't quit, I never signed any papers stating I was quitting. I've never gotten written up or signed any papers stating I was being written up. I also have text transcripts to prove each time I was on time/early/late. (As well as each time they sent me to get coffee for them.)


Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
1. Contact the employer and ask that they pay you the wages you've earned immediately and that if you don't get paid promptly you'll exercise all your legal options, including making a complaint with the NY State Department of Labor. If you don't get paid promptly make the DOL complaint and see about suing the employer in small claims court, too.

2. File immediately for unemployment benefits.

3. Start looking for your next job. And you probably want to find someplace where you are not working for family.
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Senior Member
It's certainly worth your while to file the claim. Go ahead and do this promptly, even if you think you'll find another job soon, or have not yet been paid for that last week. Pursue the pay for the last week you worked. legally the employer is obligated to pay you for hours you have worked, at least minimum wage.

Other than that, sadly, there's not much they must do, not much they can't do to you, including yell, holler insult and abuse you to try to get rid of you without having to have you approved for unemployment benefits. (It's harder if you quit to be approved to draw. If they fire you, they must show a valid, work related reason to have fired you or you'll be approved. This costs them money.) It sounds like she was in the know about this and thus tried, and succeeded, to get you to leave, so she could say you quit voluntarily.

But the unemployment system has seen all this before, and may think you had a valid reason to leave at that time, and were forced to quit. It costs nothing and there's no downside to filing that claim, in any case. And then, of course, you'll move on and use the good experience you've gotten at this job to find a better job.

Small professional offices run by family members have always been, in my experience, a very tough place to work. Many times the person in charge is in charge only because of their family connection, not because of their knowing how to run an office effectively. It makes a tough place to work, and many people have had this sort of experience in this sort of workplace.

Don't think you are ruined for life, hurt or assaulted. You'll look back on this particular job as a very small episode in your whole work life later. And be assured, your employer did nothing illegal to you except fail to pay you for hours you'd worked. You're well rid of them.


I'm a Northern Girl
This is not a wrongful termination as defined by law. It may or may not be fair, but it was a legal termination and does not provide you with any legal recourse.

It sounds like a quit to me too, but there's enough ambiguity in it so that it's definitely worth filing a claim.

You are definitely entitled to be paid for the time you actually worked and Tax has given you the process. NY is funny about wage claims and if you do not get any satisfaction from the DOL, small claims is an option.

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