Fired worker isn't owed two weeks' notice

Can They Do That?

Your Money

July 11, 2004|By Carrie Mason-Draffen

I am a physician's assistant who was let go by the doctor who employed me. I was part-time, hourly and nonunion. I have two questions. Wasn't my employer supposed to give me two weeks' notice? And did he act legally when he deducted state and federal taxes from my severance pay?

Unfortunately, your boss didn't have to give you any notice. In employment-at-will states, which most states in this country are, you can be fired at any time if you aren't covered by a contract, and you can quit at any time.

Severance pay isn't mandatory either, but your boss probably saw it as a substitute for notice.

And I have more bad news: Severance pay is taxable. Here's what the IRS says: "Amounts you receive as severance pay are taxable. A lump-sum payment for cancellation of your employment contract is income in the tax year you receive it and must be reported with your other salaries and wages."

At least you won't have any surprises when your W-2 comes next year.

For three years I worked in customer service for a company. I was paid the same salary every week despite working an average of 45 to 55 hours per week. I've since left the company but believe I should have earned overtime for those longer hours. I didn't work in sales, nor was I a supervisor or manager. Am I entitled to anything?

Based on your description, you may well have been what's called non-exempt and therefore eligible for overtime. But it's hard to know for sure. Employees who fall outside the professional, administrative, executive or outside-sales categories qualify for overtime.

My question is: What took you so long to look into this? I hope that the statute of limitations on any violations that turn up hasn't run out. Call your local office of the U.S. Labor Department.

Carrie Mason-Draffen is a columnist for Newsday, a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.