First job - and it's a bust.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-16-2001
First job - and it's a bust.
16
Sat, 09-22-2012 - 12:02pm

Niece-girl, 17 yo college freshman, got her first job working with a vendor in a local market.  She's a part-timer, working Thursdays & Saturdays.  Her first day (Thursday) 3 weeks ago, the owner says her hours would be picked up on the following pay period in two weeks.  OK... So she works another two weeks of Thursdays & Saturdays, goes to work this week & the owner tells her "yeah, we'll pay you next week..."

I have a sinking feeling that she's been unwittingly "volunteering" her time with this vendor - that they have no inention of paying her ever. 

We are proud of her for landing her first job & feel bad she's being screwed over like this.  What should she do?  Quit & chalk up the loss as a learning experience?  Should dh or I, her un-official guardians, go up there & give that vendor hell for taking advantage of a naive teenager & punch the owner if the face?  (OK, we wouldn't really go that far, but I feel better just typing it out - LOL!)

<sigh>  Life sucks sometimes...

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Sat, 09-22-2012 - 2:45pm

Well, I think it's time for your niece to learn how to stand up for herself.  It's a skill that will hold her in good stead the rest of her life.  And if it's a bitter lesson, oh well.  Better now than later.  Tell her to go to the owner and say, " I have worked 3 weeks, and not gotten paid yet.  Please explain to me exactly how the payroll system works, and what days are paydays."  Also tell her, "In the future, ask those questions BEFORE you accept a job."

They aren't NECESSARILY screwing her.  I worked 8 years for a place that paid us only ONCE A MONTH.  Many places pay on the 15th and the last day of the month--and if those days fall on weekends, then you are paid on the weekday FOLLOWING the weekend.  Many places lag the pay one pay period.  One of my dds started a new job this year, on March 5th.  Her pay days are the 15th and the last, and they are lagged.  The last day of March 2012 fell on Saturday, and she did not get her FIRST paycheck, which was for 3/5-15, until April 2nd.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sat, 09-22-2012 - 4:39pm

If talking doesn't work then call your state Dept. of Labor.  There is no such thing as "volunteering"--it would be illegal not to pay her for her work.  Are there any other employees besides her?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-20-2009
Sat, 09-22-2012 - 5:32pm
I would hope they arent stiffing her. Do you know if anyone else is working there? My 17 yo did not ask any question either but all went ok.
Please tell when you find out how it goes.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009
Sat, 09-22-2012 - 11:55pm

Most states have laws and a labor department to deal with these types of situations.

Even if she gets cheated, I don’t think it’s a total bust.  For starters she learned about what work is, following instructions, showing up on time, putting in the hours, completing tasks, how it really sucks (joking), etcetera.

If she gets cheated that may be a more valuable lesson then getting paid.  She will learn that there are cheaters in life and that sometimes life is not fair.  She will also learn not to be one of those types of people.   A few weeks ago Bob Sheiffer finished the CBS evening news with these words after a heartwarming final story, “There are a lot of good people out there.”  I tend to think the good people are above 97% with another 2% of the population behind bars, she found a member of the 1%, so tell her to find some of those good people to work for and be one of the 97% herself.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Sun, 09-23-2012 - 7:55pm

I would not go talk to the boss for her, but would instead talk to her about how to be prepared (have documentation of how many hours worked and anything else she has that might help) and even do some role-playing for her to practice ways to talk to the boss until she feels comfortable. I think she should approach it from the angle that its a misunderstanding and that they do intend to pay her....that way, if she gets paid then she's still on good terms with the boss if she wants to continue working for him. If he puts her off again then she can get mad and go to the Labor Board. 

Community Leader
Registered: 12-16-2003
Tue, 09-25-2012 - 11:48pm

I will agree with the others and have her talk to her boss.  That is awful, I hope it works out. 

Ramona  Mom to 2 great kids and wife to one wonderful hubby since 1990!

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-16-2001
Sun, 09-30-2012 - 7:41am

DH was a retail manager for a lot of years and was able to coach her thru the situation quite well.  She quit Saturday. 

Her pay?  $40 cash and "We'll pay you the rest when we get the $$$."

Don't know how these people even stay in business...  good riddance!

Community Leader
Registered: 12-16-2003
Mon, 10-01-2012 - 12:56pm
Blah! That is awful. By law, they are to pay employees first, then the others.

Ramona  Mom to 2 great kids and wife to one wonderful hubby since 1990!

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 10-02-2012 - 11:15am

Maybe your local TV station has one of those consumer advocates--if they called the person, money might be forthcoming if they don't want their name on the TV--or call your attorney general's office, which probably has a consumer protection bureau.  I think it stinks that people take advantage of young people.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009
Wed, 10-03-2012 - 1:18am

I think that many states, maybe most, have wage and hours sections in their department of Labor.  They are charged with looking into these types of things when reported.  In they can do nothing, reporting this to them gives them a record of complaints about this particular employer. Our state does not have income tax, but there are employment taxes for the employer to pay that the state wants to collect on all wages. The state also coordinates with the federal authorities on these issues.  And the feds are very interested in SS and FICA taxes being collected and paid to the federal government.  Contact the state with a labor complaint.

Many states have small claims courts that cost only a few bucks to file in as Plaintiff.  The local Judge Judy will not take kindly to cheating employees.  It may come down to her work against the employer’s word, but her word is just as valid as theirs.  

As I posted earlier, there are times when you get cheated in life.  They are painful learning experiences for sure.  If this is the worst that ever happens to her, she will have lived a most charmed life.  It’s a lesson in itself.  And life has a funny way of getting even with people like those who screw employees.   I truly believe that you do reap what you sow.

There are many many honest employers and they are looking for honest employees who will give an hour of good labor for a fair hour of wages.  Tell her to find one of those honest employers and be one of those honest employees.  She will reap good things.