A letter to my employers (long)

I work for a very small company (less than 10 people including the owners) and this morning I was severely chastised in front of my co workers for taking a personal call. They hinted that they are planning on firring me after 10 years of working for them. I have worked for them in some capacity since I was 14 and now that I am in my 20’s with a BA from UCLA I feel that I really don’t need to put up with their shit anymore. Not for $14 an hour, not when I am in a management position, and for some of my grievances, not at all ever. I am actively looking for a new job at this point and depending on their reaction to the letter I send the I will most likely resign at the end of the week.

I sent my employers a much tamer version of this letter, but I need to just get this out there. I removed the names so this stays relatively anonymous. Feel free to flame me or sympathise as you see fit.
Dear Employer

You are absolutely right, my phone conversation this morning was indeed abusive. In my defense many of my duties are close to mindless and I assumed that as long as I was able to work while I was on the phone it wasn’t a big deal. But I do understand your feelings on the subject and I sincerely apologize. You mentioned that you felt I had been abusive for a long while now, and I do wish you had mentioned something sooner, as I was not aware that I had been taking advantage of you and would have corrected my behavior immediately. It was not now, nor has it ever been my intention to take advantage of your generosity.

That being said, you are correct about my dissatisfaction with my employment at the gallery, and I agree that we should have a talk about the abuses in our relationship. From the first day that I took this job, I felt as though I was not being treated as an equal amongst the employees. You refused to give me a work space for the first year of my employment, and I feel that because my work i more than anyone else in the gallery needed a dedicated work space. It is horrible that another employees mother had to die in order for me to get a place to do the job you hired me to do.

  1. My main but far from only concern is that you have bounced exactly half of my paychecks, including my most recent one, since I started in this new position last September. You were supposed to have cash in hand for me when I showed up this morning to compensate me for the September 1st bounced check, but as of now I still have not received compensation for that paycheck or the now $181 in bank charges incurred thus far. This is also not only unfair but illegal.

This is effecting my credit score at this point as well as my personal finances as my bank will no longer release money from checks to me until 10 business days have passed. At this point there is nothing you can even do to correct it, when I spoke to my bank yesterday after my last paycheck bounced I was told that I had been placed on a probationary hold that will last for 6 months from the point that I am able to maintain a positive bank balance. If another deposited check bounces my bank will close my account.

None of this is through any fault of my own, but rather a direct response of my bank to the numerous bad checks you have written me. This has caused me a large amount of personal and financial stress and embarrassment that has indeed affected my work. I know that if you had an employer bounce check on you, you would not have stood for it. I feel that I have been very patient due to our long standing relationship, but I need to be certain that the money I have earned will be available to me on the day that it is paid. It is no longer something I can tolerate as the financial stress of having to live entirely off a credit card has been making me physically ill and causing me to lose sleep.

  1. When you first hired me you asked me to give you any ideas that I had to improve my department, I spent a solid week working in my off time on a proposal for how my department could be improved. You put off the meeting 5 times before the actual first meeting was scheduled, and then you addressed almost none of the issues in my 10 plus page proposal. Follow up meetings were scheduled, none ever took place. Yes, other meetings did occur, but the issues of how to improve my department were never again addressed.

3)You placed me on an hourly salary but told me that you would treat me like a salaried employee. I was not paid for my vacation days, and I have never been given overtime compensation of any sort. I am getting none of the benefits of either a salaried or hourly employee. The convention in particular was an issue as I worked well over 80 hours that week and got paid only straight time. This is not only unfair it is illegal, but because of our history I let it go.

3a) On the subject of the convention, I made less or equal pay this year than I ever have in the past. I would think that my pay raise would apply across the board and that I would be making more money, particularly on time consuming trips such as comic con. I have in the past typically received some sort of bonus for working the show, and while it was never agreed upon that this would be the case, I was hurt that no extra compensation was given to me for my efforts at the show. In addition I was expected to be a salesman, but at every turn felt that I was not being allowed to sell. I was placed in the position of having to sell Gris and speed racer art which doesn’t sell well and is very expensive when compared to what is normally sold. I still managed to sell over $2000 a day, even though I would spend at least 3 hours out of every day running errands at comic con.

  1. I have never been given my employee review and have all but been told that I will never be paid more than my base salary of $14 an hour. When I was hired I was told that there would be a commission and bonus structure put in place, but every time I asked about them in the fist 6 months I was told that they hadn’t been figured out yet. You also told me that I would be eligible for a raise after 6 months but when I asked you about it you told me that I had taken my raise immediately upon my acceptance of the job and that you were not able to offer me any more money. I assume that this will not ever change, as you have shown no evidence of becoming more financially stable and continue to bounce my paychecks.

In light of all of the above I think you can understand why I feel you have never taken me seriously as an employee. I worked very hard for you when I first took this job, and will admit that I have become more relaxed in my attitude. I wanted to prove to you that I was no longer the child that you hired to work part time to sweep the lot, but it has become abundantly clear that you will never see me this way. As I have become more and more unhappy, I have become less and less productive and have probably become, in your words “abusive” towards your relaxed environment. I do not see any of the above problems ever being rectified, and I do not see myself ever becoming happy working for you.

It is important to have a meeting about this as soon possible. Once again I apologize for taking a long personal call on company time. It will never happen again. Please get back to me at your earliest convenience; I need to have this settled by the end of business today.

I got as far as the bounced paychecks. You are being played for a sucker. Grow a pair and quit the job.

Save the letter (if it’s not too late), get a different job, contact the appropriate people about getting paid for the bounced cheque and then take a big steaming shit on the owners desk.

Nothing says “Fuck you, I quit” like a big steaming pile of shit.

Get out while you still have your life. I can’t believe it’s taken you ten years. Run!

Wow! Good for you for finally standing up for yourself to your employer. But I strongly recommend that you not stop there. Report them to whatever agencies you must regarding all their illegal payroll practices, especially the bounced checks!

I’d also recommend getting copies of all the documentation you can that your banking problems were due to payroll checks bouncing, and file whatever “disputes” you can with all of the credit reporting agencies. This is critically important, because that shit will follow you around for 7 years!

Best of luck.

To be fair, it was an awesome after school and college job, they didn’t start treating me like shit until I became a full time employee last year.

On the issue of wages and hours, including not paying you for overtime, etc. you may want to consider contacting the state labor authorities, because you may be entitled to a large award of back pay if the company has violated labor laws.

I don’t know the facts and circumstances or the particularities of California law, but if you ase an hourly employee and not getting overtime, depending on the characteristics of your job, there is a good chance the employer may have violated wage and hour laws, among other things.

I am not your lawyer, and this is not my jurisdiction or area of practice, so don’t think what I say is gospel. However, a call to the state labor authorities (usually a local call or 800 number), or a consultation with a local attorney may be worthwhile.

First, go get a new job. These people aren’t going to treat you fairly, they’ve made that abundantly clear. Don’t bother with an another meeting (where they’ll blow more smoke up your ass) or multiple letters - just get another job and drop your resignation on their desk. Personally, I wouldn’t bother giving them any notice considering the situation, but you could give them a max of two weeks.

Second, get together documentation and write down as much as you can remember showing your unpaid overtime and the bounced checks. Then talk to your state Department of Labor. You can file on them for the unpaid overtime and unpaid vacation days. This sort of crap is flatly illegal, and DoL should jump on it. Include the business of refusing to do your review and refusing to provide promised raises, commissions, and bonuses. I dunno if DoL can do anything about it, but it won’t hurt to try.

Third, file explanatory letters with documentation to the credit bureaus. That will help on your credit report.

Fourth, as far as the bounced paychecks and fees - take 'em to small claims court. Claim any unpaid wages (unless DoL gets those back for you), all bank fees, all credit card interest and fees, plus anything - ANY THING AT ALL - that you’ve had to pay/do to take care of these. Charge 'em for your time in straightening out the mess, with your bank, with the credit bureaus, etc. Get all your documentation in order to show what it has cost you to clean up their mess and make them pay you for it.

These people have screwed you over royally and are obviously planning to do so until you kick up too much fuss, at which point they plan to fire you. Much of what they’re doing is blatantly illegal, and the rest of it is just plain wrong.

Stand up for yourself!

Seconded. It’s fairly obvious that they’re trying to build a paper trail in order to fire you. Screw them before they’re screwing you- you’ve got the upper hand right now, although it may not feel like it… but once they fire you, it’s going to be an uphill battle for you to get what you deserve.

Half your paychecks bounced? Dude, run! Even if you don’t have a job, cannot get unemployment, and will earn nothing, you are losing money on those check fees, and that’s worse. Get out of that job. Then definitely take the fuckers to small claims court and get every penny they owe you. See about that overtime, too.

Most importantly, get the hell out of that job. Do it now.

See California Labor Code Section 500-558 and Section 200-243.

For instance:

Section 1719 of the Civil Code reads in part. . .

I say nail their asses!

Before you get all hot and vindictive following some of the advice in this thread, keep in mind that you will have to account for your time with this employer on your resume. Even considering the legitimacy of your compaint, no one is going to be comfortable hiring a shit disturber.

You’ve been there way to long. Mend your fences first and then get the hell out of there into your career path.

This is of some concern, but not as much as if the OP was older and had been in the job for the same amount of time as an adult. IF I was the OP I would make it clear, when explaining the employer that I intended to get my money, that I would also not tolerate any slander or libel.

It’s also important not to bad mouth the employer in future interviews, of course.

Quit. Now. $14/hr after ten years with no paid vacation and no overtime? They are playing you for a fool.

Then work like hell to get your credit rating back. Trust me, you will need it. If you don’t do something about this now, you will regret it later. My brother once turned a phone number over to a friend, who then didn’t pay the bills for months at a time. When my brother went to get a loan for a house, he was turned down because of his credit rating. He didn’t even know that this had happened, and it took quite a while to get through all the red tape. Seriously. Get it done.

Sorry. I take it back. It’s been a year. Run. Far. These aren’t people you want to learn *the ropes of the world * from.

Go Bruins!!

No, seriously. Go. Go NOW.

I think you should stay and try to work things out.

Ok, not really. I just felt like someone should take the contrary position. Kinda hard to establish balance when you’ve got “you should leave and take a shit on the boss’s desk!” on one side.

I’m not sympathizing with some who bounces paychecks, but it sounds like you’re admitting in the letter you (currently) mostly do a half assed job because you’re bored. I really think even a mild “fuck you” letter is not recommended at this stage of the game. Get a new job while you still have this one, and you can say whatever you want after the fact. All you’re doing with that letter (or a milder version) is burning bridges because your feelings are hurt. You need to think strategically several moves ahead, not emotionally.

Even if you are lazy as shit at work, they cannot bounce your paychecks. They can fire you. They can put you on probation. They cannot bounce your paychecks.

California is a union state, as opposed to a right-to-work state. That means the labor laws enherently favor the worker.

Contact the labor board, and get them for all they’re worth. I can’t stand it when employers screw employees out of wages, and I’ve brought people before the labor board over here (Nevada, right-to-work state) for less.


I don’t have much to add except: Good for you. Take a moment to pat yourself on the back for standing up for yourself in a professional manner.

With a letter such as this, you are stating all the issues you have had with your employer while successfully managing to not give them any ammunition to fire back at you. This is the best position possible that you could be in as far as resigning can go. After all, throwing a genuine hissy-fit would just result in them saying “See? That’s why we don’t take you seriously, because you act like a baby!” whereas a professional but firm letter such as this one makes you look about ten feet tall.

Good job. Let us know how this plays out.