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Boss refusing to pay money owed; Now claiming I owe him money.

KealohaKealoha Registered User regular
edited May 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
I'll try to keep it short.

I lived in Australia for a time (in U.S. now). While working there, I accumulated leave/sick time that I was entitled to be paid out for upon leaving my job. I didn't know this until the day after I left the country, when a Canadian friend who had just left (from the same business, too) told me that he got paid out a few $k. So I contact my boss about this information (4 1/2 months ago, now) and after he took extended holidays/finished with an unfortunate string of personal emergencies, he paid me half of my money. About AU$1.5k, promising me the second half on the next pay day.

Maybe two months have passed. I've been busy, haven't been on top of the situation like I should have. A few emails had been sent (me->him) with no response. Finally, I get a response last week saying I'll be paid this Friday. Then, two days after that email, I get one from the accounts department saying they've just received notice that 6 months ago - yes six months - I took part in a traffic violation in the company car in a city 3 hours north of Sydney. I had to google the place. I've never been there. Plus, I have proof that I was working on that day. The offense is apparently driving in a bus lane, with a fine of $1200. Which is just ridiculous. They have no proof that it was me driving (which is impossible, anyway, because I wasn't). Here's the kicker: I am 99% sure I'd returned the company car by then, because I didn't need it anymore (I never really did; they just gave it to me as an incentive to stay). My boss had asked for the car back so his dad could use it while his was in the shop, or my boss' was in the shop. The problem is I have no confirmation of when I handed over the keys. I swore I took it down somewhere, but apparently not. I'm kicking myself so hard for that.

No money's appeared yet. This would be into an Australian account of mine, holiday/weekend processing times wouldn't be an issue. I'm also pretty broke now because a contract job has ended and several financial emergencies have crept up, as they always do, so that's why I'm being so insistent now after two months of waiting patiently. Being an ocean away makes it pretty much impossible to take any meaningful action against him.

He has a history of fucking over employees who leave. I was buddy-buddy with him, so I thought he'd treat me with a bit of decency. I guess I've learned that lesson, though. None of my emails have been returned since they told me about the traffic fine. I'm going to call him tomorrow, but I've seen him deal with situations like this, and - especially over the phone - he is incredibly capable of manipulation and persuasion. I know I'm in the right - unless somehow I blacked out and drove to a place for no discernible reason - but I'm not sure what to do/say to even make an impression. I have very little ground to stand on and, realistically, if he has made his mind up not to pay me, there's nothing I can really do about it, as far as I know. Advice?

!! ! ! !!
Kealoha on

Posts

  • RuckusRuckus Registered User regular
    I can't comment specifically as to Australian Law, but here in Manitoba, employees can't be held financially responsible for things like parking tickets in company vehicles or damaged company property. You may want to check in to the Labour and Traffic Laws of whichever jurisdiction you worked and the ticket was issued in.

    Raneados wrote: »
    so what SPECIFICALLY is the problem with my hole?
  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    Ruckus wrote: »
    I can't comment specifically as to Australian Law, but here in Manitoba, employees can't be held financially responsible for things like parking tickets in company vehicles or damaged company property. You may want to check in to the Labour and Traffic Laws of whichever jurisdiction you worked and the ticket was issued in.

    My employer for an unpaid internship five years ago, paid my parking ticket before he even hired me since the ticket happened because the interview took too long.

    Check with the popo, that guy is a dick.

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  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    I actually paid part of my way through college as a truck driver in the U.S. I know in MY case I was absolutely liable for actual tickets I earned.

    What is this I don't even.
  • Blake TBlake T Registered User regular
    Ruckus wrote: »
    I can't comment specifically as to Australian Law, but here in Manitoba, employees can't be held financially responsible for things like parking tickets in company vehicles or damaged company property. You may want to check in to the Labour and Traffic Laws of whichever jurisdiction you worked and the ticket was issued in.

    No you can. Secondly this isn't a parking fine, it's equivalent of speeding. Which they need a name for.

    Secondly. I've never heard of a fine of 1200 dollars for a bus lane violation.

    Call up the police station, state the rego number of the car and ask if there are any outstanding tickets for it.

    Next call up your boss, state the handover date (give the month before hand, or look through past texts emails Facebook for the words transport, lift or car, you may have mentioned the date to a friend, like, can I have a lift, I've given back the car) and tell him he needs to pay. And you have documentation saying that he has agreed to do so.

    If you have time go here and call them and ask for advice http://www.fairwork.gov.au/

    Then when you call your boss, threaten to report him to fair work.

    Unfortunately you are limited as I would also reccommend Small claims court but being in a different country makes this difficult.

  • DhalphirDhalphir don't you open that trapdoor you're a fool if you dareRegistered User regular
    Also keep in mind that money that he owes you is separate from any money he claims you owe him.

    If he owes you $1500, and claims you owe him $1200, he cannot simply pay you $300, even if you do accept the $1200 debt, unless you approve him to do it that way.

    If you don't approve the deduction, he has to pay you the $1500 he owes you and then recover the money he may or may not be owed using other avenues.

  • KafkaAUKafkaAU Western AustraliaRegistered User regular
    The standard award in Australia doesn't involve paying out sick time. It accrues but you never get it paid when you leave, only accured holiday time. Your contract may have been different from standard though. Does this account for the discrepancy in what you got paid and what you were expecting? Or did they say "yeah we owe you XXX" and you only got 50% of XXX.

    I don't live in Sydney (or NSW for that matter), but I know the trafic violations over there are expensive. I wouldn't put it past being $1200, but it does seem overly expensive, not that it matters.

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    Origin: KafkaAU B-Net: Kafka#1778
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Ask for proof that it was you. If they can't provide it, they can't charge you for it.

    Ladies.
  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    If It's Not Written Down It Never Happened. Follow Blake T's advice and next time, get things on paper!!

  • KealohaKealoha Registered User regular
    KafkaAU wrote: »
    The standard award in Australia doesn't involve paying out sick time. It accrues but you never get it paid when you leave, only accured holiday time. Your contract may have been different from standard though. Does this account for the discrepancy in what you got paid and what you were expecting? Or did they say "yeah we owe you XXX" and you only got 50% of XXX.

    I don't live in Sydney (or NSW for that matter), but I know the trafic violations over there are expensive. I wouldn't put it past being $1200, but it does seem overly expensive, not that it matters.

    I've found online that the traffic violation is normally around $300. If they'd received notice of it months ago without paying attention to it, I'm sure the fine would've increased due to late fees?

    Also, you might be right about the sick time. But it doesn't really matter, because he paid me 50% of the amount he stated, which was roughly $3k. I had a lot of time built up, having worked 45-50 hour weeks.

    Blake T wrote: »
    Ruckus wrote: »
    I can't comment specifically as to Australian Law, but here in Manitoba, employees can't be held financially responsible for things like parking tickets in company vehicles or damaged company property. You may want to check in to the Labour and Traffic Laws of whichever jurisdiction you worked and the ticket was issued in.

    No you can. Secondly this isn't a parking fine, it's equivalent of speeding. Which they need a name for.

    I'll have to get the rego number. The thing is, they won't even give me a scanned copy of the violation. Something is obviously kind of messed up. Communication is always pretty bad, but if they had ironclad proof (which, I reiterate, is impossible because I was never there) they would just scan the image, tell me to fuck off, and we'd be on our way. So I'm gonna scrounge around for what I can and try to get a word from them at least.

    I feel kind of petty for the whole thing because it's such a small amount of money in the grand scheme of things, but that makes it worse. This dude rakes in cash—I know firsthand. $1500 does not make a difference to him. Totally soured on business owners after this experience, unfortunately.

    As for the Fair Work stuff, I've talked to a few past employees (that left while I was there or just before) and apparently people have tried a handful of times to take action against this guy with no success. I'd go that route if I weren't so far away. I've got an angry old lady advocating for me, but aged vitriol can only do so much.

    Thanks for the response guys. I suppose there's not much I can do if he has made up his mind to be a dick, but I'm gonna try.

    !! ! ! !!
  • Blake TBlake T Registered User regular
    If they won't give you a scanned copy of the registration then they are lying.

    Honestly, call fair work just to sound them out, they'll give you advice on how to proceed and should take less than half an hour. Then threaten him with it anyway.

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