Job refusing to pay me, not sure what to do

So Ive been working for this company for a bit over a year. Recently, I fell down some stairs and messed up my back pretty badly. I immediately emailed my supervisor to let him know what had happened and told him I was unsure when I would be back. (3 hr commute plus 9 hrs at a desk was just not going to happen.)

My job does not offer short term disability, and I am a salaried employee.

I was answering all emails from home and had been asking for a laptop to be able to do my full job. It took two weeks for my supervisor to get an answer regarding the laptop stating that my boss will not give me one. But at this point, no one told me that I would not be paid for my previous time answering emails nor did they tell me to stop. I asked if I could be paid for one weeks work instead of two since I was unable to do my entire job, but had still made the effort to do what I could. They are refusing to pay me anything and marking me as out from work-which will take the little bit of sick/vacation time I have for the year from me.

Are they allowed to refuse to pay me even though I have actually worked? Im not sure exactly what my rights are regarding this type of situation.:dubious:

You need to speak with an attorney who specializes in employment law. But, no, as a salaried employer your company cannot refuse to pay you if you informed them of your disability and can demonstrate that you made a reasonable effort to perform your job. They have to go through what in most states is a well-defined process to suspend or sever your employment, including making ‘reasonable’ accommodations for your condition.


Yeah, thats kind of what I figured. Now I just have to figure out if I risk loosing my job by fighting them on this…and pushing myself to go back earlier then I should.

If they fire you, they only make their case look much worse, and you can sue them for wrongful termination.

That, however, is dependent upon you being willing to do that.

Your rights depend on your jurisdiction, which you didn’t specify. (And neither did Stranger On A Train, so you can’t be sure that his advice applies to you.) In any event, you should speak to a union representative or qualified legal advisor to determine what to do.

I live in NY…its a non union job.

I kind of feel like Im in a catch 22.

I know if I push myself to go back, Ill be leaving early 3x a week for therapy and also prolonging the therapy which will eventually cause a problem with my boss.

If I fight them, Its almost positive Ill loose my job. And NY disability only pays 150 a week which wont even pay my rent let alone my bills.

True, that, and upon review I see that the o.p. does have personal leave time available, which he may be forced to use if he cannot perform if he is not able to perform his work duties (i.e. come into the office, respond to e-mail, et cetera). The impression I got from the post was that the o.p. informed his boss that he would not be able to coming into work, received permission to work from home versus taking a declared absence, and then was later denied the ability to credit his effort as work, but a more careful review while I’m not standing in the security line at the airport scrolling around on a smartphone indicates that may not be the case.

To the o.p.: you need to document all of your communications (preferably confirming in e-mail so that there is a written exchange) and contact someone who specializes in employment law in your jurisdiction.


I have plenty of emails showing my intent to work (responding to factories, forwarders, etc), informing my supervisor of medical updates, asking for a laptop to perform my full duties etc. As I stated, no one told me to NOT work, they just refused to give me a laptop to do all of my work. (after 2 weeks of asking) So I tried to compromise asking for a weeks pay as opposed to two weeks pay, and they did not agree to that either. At this point I have stopped answering emails with the exception of medical updates to my supervisor.

Im not sure if I should push myself to go to work on Monday which will prolong my therapy but I also cannot afford to stay out. Especially since there refusal to pay me has in turn made accounting mark me as out of work and use whatever days I have for sick/vacation time.

Did you ever actually tell them you wanted to work from home? If you did, and they said yes, I would think (and I know nothing of the laws by the way) they would owe you for the time. But going by what you said, it looks like that never happened. It looks like on your own you started answering work emails when you were off from work. I don;t think you can make them pay you fro that.

I actually told my supervisor that I would set up my email to work from home, and he said “feel better”. He never stated to not work. He never stated I wouldn’t be paid for it. I in fact, did not find out I would not be paid for my time working until pay week.

I also have worked from home once before on a day with bad weather conditions, and was paid for it with no questions asked.

You have a problem in that you don’t know what was done on the company’s side. There was no clear communication.

Your situation is clouded in that you are salaried, not on company property and performing work.

Your state dept of labor has a thing called “Wages and Hours” they can steer you in the correct direction.

Here’s NY’s Wages And Hours

I would definately go in to see H/R on Monday. Remember to go in with a nice NON-CONFRONTATIONAL attitude. People feel sorry for sick or injured people and WANT to help them. But if your angry and mad, they don’t want to help you anymore.

Even if you’re correct, that isn’t what’s important. Right isn’t going to pay your rent. You want to have your money.

Start with your wages and hours and shoot them off an email. Then go in Monday and try to work out some kind of arrangement.

This may be a situation where the company is looking to put you out the door.

It’s also never the time to burn bridges. Think of FMLA which can give you 12 weeks of leave. You may have to use that time to look for a new job but at least you can keep your insurance from the job.

Lastly remember your long term goal is to get paid AND keep your job. You’re not looking for what’s fair or right. Being injured and having to look for a job or sue an employer isn’t going to help your heath, even though it may be the right thing.

Talking lawsuits and such are only as a last resort. So non-confrontational is best and make them feel like they WANT to help you.

I appreciate your help. Unfortunately, there is no HR in my company. I received an email from accounting asking if I was in or out on certain days (we have a hand scanner that we clock in and out with) and I explained to her what had happened. She turned around and said that without permission from my boss to pay me, she would have to mark me as out of work.

I was thinking of going on FMLA, but as its unpaid Im not sure how I will pay my rent/bills.

Were you at work when you fell down the stairs?

No. This is not a workmans comp case.

If an employee can show that the employer was aware (or even that it was the case that a reasonably vigilant employer would have been aware) that the employee was continuing to discharge duties on the employer’s behalf and the employer remained silent and permitted the work to be performed, the employee may still be able to collect.

I know NY is different than Calif.
You state that “I am a salaried employee.” But the question is are an exempt employee. A lot of employeers will define an employee as exempt when the NLRB (federal gov) does not. You need to file for disability now. Because time is important.

Check with your state labor board, they will be able to give you a better answer than anyone here. And if necessasry there is always the lawyer way.

Our firm will not let you work at home if you are signed-off sick. You’re either one or the other - working at home or sick.

Couple of thoughts:

  • many firms require full-time home workers to have a proper work area set aside which meets safe working requirements (i.e. proper chair, enough light, desk space etc).

  • if you aggravate your injury while working at home (you slip while going to get a cup of tea on one of your breaks) you then open the firm up to liability.

We had a colleague who broke her leg skiing. She was perfectly capable of working with a laptop, but because she could not sit at a desk she was not allowed to work from home. She would have had to sit on the sofa with her leg stretched out, which is not a recommended workspace (i.e. if she gave herself a bad back from sitting on a soft chair the firm might have been liable).

So the fact you asked to work at home, and continued to do so even without their approval, may not mean you actually “worked” in a legal sense.

(Edit: I’m in the UK so may not apply in the USA)

I only havent filed for disability yet because im unsure of when I will return, and since NY max for disability is 150 a week…thats not helping the situation.

Im not sure thats the case. I know of two separate people who work from home. One because his wife got a job out of state and the other because she cannot find suitable daycare for her newborn.

Once they stated they would not pay me, I stopped working. But prior to that, I was unaware that they would not pay.