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Junior Member
What is the name of your state? Florida

I am an employee of a local company in Port Saint Lucie, Florida.

Last week, June 28, the owner of the small company (5 employees), fired one of his employees. The fired employee asked about the rest of his vacation time. He was entitled to 5 days, 2 of which were granted earlier in the year. The owner stated that vacation is a privilege that he is not entitled to.

Another employee who did not like what was happening to the above mentioned employee decided to quit. He was also owed 2 more of his vacation days.

Question: If it was already established that they were granted 1 week vacation after completing 1 year of employment, does the employer have the right to ' take back', vacation days?

When our service manager showed up after these 2 employees had left, he was also informed that he would not be receiving his paycheck.

This gets a little confusing so I need to provide some past information here.

I am the secretary/office manager. I am also the General Managers wife.

About a month ago, we received a letter from the IRS stating that the general managers pay check was to be garnished. Before any other employees came in to work that morning, the owner told me he was going to surprise the general manager by paying off the IRS for him. He said he wanted to make things easier for us, and it was just something we didn't need to worry about.

The general manager came in and the owner sat him down, with a serious attitude. He showed him the letter. After it was read, the owner smiled and told him once he receives a check from a certain customer, he would take take of it. We both thanked him for the generosity and that was the end of it.

The owner than called his accountant told him what he was going to do and the check went to the accountant a few days later and then on to the IRS.

Last week, when the GM came into get his paycheck, he was told that he would not be getting one because he owed him money. After a bit of arguing between them, the GM quit. He was to receive his weekly pay plus he receives a monthly pay check. He also has 9 weeks of vacation pay which he never used because he runs the company and is never able to take the time away from the job.

Today, July 5, the general manager, showed up with a Port Saint Lucie police officer so he can pick up his personal property.

However, over the 4 day weekend the owner decided to clean out the office and shop area.
In doing so, he removed personal property that belonged to the general manager. Various race car parts, including seats, body parts, a generator, and I am sure many other things that no one even remembers any more. The police questioned the owner about the property and he told them that the GM had just walked out on Friday and he did not expect to ever see him again so he took all of his things and threw them a way. After a few more times of questioning, the owner slipped up and admitted to having the generator and refused to return it until he was paid the money he sent to the IRS. The police explained that the GM could now file a report for the theft of his property and he would be taken to jail. The generator was quickly returned, but the rest of the property is still missing.

The police tried to explain that he should also pay the GM what he is entitled to, however they can not force him to do so. They did explain that what he is doing is illegal. Needless to say, the GM has yet to be provided with his final pay checks. Not to mention the vacation that is due to him will never be seen.

The GM ran the company for 5 years.
He was also given 10% of the company a few months ago.
I overheard the conversation the owner had with his accountant on June 28th, 2006 and it turns out that he never filed with the state so they decided to pretend it never happened. I do have a copy of the signed stock certificate that is apparently worthless.

The GM was also expected to eventually own the company. He was also going to be the second qualifier for the business.
That paper work was filed and is expected to arrive in the mail eventually.

On June 28th, 2006 the owner of the company decided to call all of the distributors that we do business with and explain to them that these 3 employees were fired. He continued to call them all losers among other things and tell them that the GM is doing nothing but taking money from him. He has also called many customers and informed them of the same thing.

This is going to make it harder for these employees to find work in this service industry.

I belive he is afraid that the GM is going to start his own company now.
He is attempting to make it harder for him to get started by slandering his name with all the local distributors in the area.

On May 3rd, 2006 the owner had me write a letter to a previous employee denying the remaining balance of his vacation pay due to an accident that happened in the company vehicle on company time. The letter explained that because the accident caused his insurance to go up he was keeping the vacation pay to cover the insurance. This employee had been with the company for over 10 years. The employee was holding company property until all his money was received. Considering the property he was holding was worth more than the dollar amount he would receive and the aggravation he would go threw, he just let the issue drop.

I am still employed with this company. I do not want to leave until I can find out what can be done, if anything, to help these ex-employees get what is rightfully theirs. I too, am entitled to my past vacation pay. I have been there for 4 years, almost 5. I have never taken my vacation time because I am the only one in the office.

What rights do we have?
What paper work is needed from the files to prove they are entitled to vacation pay?

Please advise me as soon as possible as I know my time with this company is very limited.


I'm a Northern Girl
Florida law does not require that unused vacation be paid out at termination. In fact, unlike some states, Florida law does not even require that an employer follow their own policy on the matter. Florida law is completely silent on the matter.

Sorry, but there are no laws I can pull out of my hat that will prove you are "entitled" to your vacation pay. Under the law of your state, you are not. If the employer chooses to pay it, fine; if the employer chooses not to pay it, also fine, as far as the law is concerned. It is not a right.

The former employees are entitled to any pay for time they actually worked. However, Florida has extremely weak wage and hour laws. Their options are these:

1.) File a claim for unpaid wages with the Department for Workforce Innovation (if they'll take it)
2.) File a complaint with the US DOL (but they will only help you collect minimum wage times hours worked)
3.) File a civil suit.

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