1- READ MY FRONT PAGE
2- How to use TimsLaw.com
3- FAQ - Job Law Q & A
4- Fired Employee Rights
5- Deciding what to do - Suing, etc
6- Missouri Service Letter 290.140
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Avoid Big Traps
Pay & Benefits
UNPAID VACATION OR SICK TIME BENEFITS
Your employer didn’t pay you for your unused vacation and sick time when you left.
Please be sure to take a look at my Wage Problems article. The circumstances and your rights (or lack thereof) may be very similar. The Wage Problems article goes into a lot more detail than this article.
The primary concern lawyers have is whether the denial of your vacation or sick pay is in any way related to a possible problem arising from the law of Retaliation or Wrongful Termination or Discrimination or FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) or even Contract Law. Unless one of those areas of law apply to your situation, your only reasonable remedy might be to file a Missouri small claims court action.
It’s usually not worth it to hire a lawyer over unpaid vacation and sick time, because not enough money is at stake. There is no law in Missouri that I am aware of that lets you collect attorney fees for proving that the employer has cheated you out of your accrued vacation and sick time.
You will have to show the small claims court judge that the employer’s vacation and sick time program allowed you to cash-out those benefits when you left the company. That’s not always easy to do. Keep your employee-benefit booklets and flyers.
In somewhat uncommon cases, these vacation and sick pay programs may be covered by the Federal benefit law called ERISA, and that would change everything and give you lots of rights. I do not know whether your vacation and sick time benefits are covered by ERISA. But here is some general info that may protect your ERISA rights if your vacation and sick time are covered by ERISA: If you are denied vacation and sick time payout, and you feel you deserve the payout, immediately write a letter to the employer’s benefit plan administrator and complain about the denial. ERISA plans usually require that you promptly complain about the denial of a benefit before you can sue anyone. If the employer still denies your benefit, you can call the US Department of Labor (DOL) - U.S. Dept of Labor has a wealth of info on many employment-related issues. The DOL might take your complaint against the employer under ERISA, similar to how you might file an EEOC charge for discrimination issues. You could also call a lawyer to research the matter for you to see if a lawsuit would be worthwhile.
Once again, please be sure to take a look at my Wage Problems article. The circumstances and your rights (or lack thereof) may be very similar. The Wage Problems article goes into a lot more detail than this article.
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