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ForteKitty

Ideal_Rock
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Oct 7, 2004
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I've been working for L.A. County for 2 years now. I was promoted to my current job 19 months ago, from a different department. Last tuesday, I received a phone call from HR stating that because my previous job was on a higher "pay schedule", my transfer was technically a "demotion", not a "promotion". Because of that, I was NOT entitled to a raise (which I got), but instead should have gotten a DECREASE in salary! Umm... had they told me that, I would have never accepted the position in the first place.

They apologized for their mistake, admitted it was an internal error. However, they want me to pay back $6000! 19 months later!!

I have a letter from the HR division head at the time of transfer, and it clearly stated my starting salary and date of confirmation, signed. I also have a form with a signature stating all of the information was correct and in accordance to County Civil Service rules.

I am fuming, and intend to do whatever it takes to fight this. I have documented everything, and ready to file a grievance report tomorrow.

Has anyone ever heard of this happening? If so, do I have a chance in court?
 

diamondfan

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 17, 2005
Messages
11,016
I am not a lawyer but to me, if you have documentation stating all of it, they are full of bunk and it sounds just ludicrous to me. I am not sure, though, legally, if they can now claim otherwise and ask to be paid back. I would think not, this is what they told you nearly two years ago, and I would think that they need to honor that, error or no error. What a bunch of BS if you ask me. I would definitely ask an employment rights attorney...
 

ForteKitty

Ideal_Rock
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Oct 7, 2004
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4,533
I have a Confirmation of Appointment with my starting step and salary, and the document is signed by the Division Head of Human Resources. Also, in the County, in order to demote someone, proper paperwork has to be filled. I was never given such papers. So my transfer was processed as a promotion up until last week when I got promoted again... that's when someone said, "hmm... oops."

They have been afraid to send me anything in writing so far, so all I have done is send them emails detailing all the meetings and asking for confirmations. I know they have read the emails because they are tracked, and everything is printed. I have 10 business days to file a grievance report, so I'm not going to wait. That report is going out tomorrow.

I'm so mad... it's a bait and switch!
 

Beacon

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 14, 2006
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2,037
Well I think it''s crazy. You have a letter stating what you are to be paid and you entered employment on that basis and they have been paying you this all along. I cannot imagine how they can try and back out of it. I am sure you will be protected by some labor laws. It''s pretty much fraud to try and re-write the rules after the game.

I am no lawyer, but it seems like common sense. Someone is trying to cover their fanny and hoping you''ll go along with it. No way!
 

MiniMouse

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 30, 2004
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1,015
ForteKitty, I''m no lawyer and therefore can''t advise you but I just want you to know I''m so sorry for what you''re going through.

It''s your employer''s fault. You have everything clear in writing, so I don''t see how they can now turn around and say they want you to take a drop in salary, and give back thousands of dollars. I truly hope you manage to sort this out amicably with no loss to you.

Wishing you all the best and a good outcome.
 

Kaleigh

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 18, 2004
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29,570
FK, I have no legal advice for you but the whole thing is so insane!!! Please let us know how it goes!!!
 

lumpkin

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 24, 2005
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2,491
I can''t imagine how they can possibly do that. I''m not a lawyer, but I just don''t see how they can! Please post updates, Forte Kitty.
 

winternight

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 12, 2006
Messages
887
Wow, sorry to hear it! Its really great that you have everything in writing - I can''t tell you how many attorneys I know that have gotten job offers and had problems later with salary issues - some didn''t get their salary offer in writing and they ended up being the worst off. Good luck!
 

crown1

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 22, 2006
Messages
1,682
sounds like they are making you the scape goat for their mistake. i''d file promptly! good luck!
 

codex57

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Dec 18, 2004
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1,492
Are you in a union? That''s gotta violate some rule somewhere.
 

kev_800

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 27, 2007
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122
Date: 3/6/2007 1:22:11 AM
Author:ForteKitty
I''ve been working for L.A. County for 2 years now. I was promoted to my current job 19 months ago, from a different department. Last tuesday, I received a phone call from HR stating that because my previous job was on a higher ''pay schedule'', my transfer was technically a ''demotion'', not a ''promotion''. Because of that, I was NOT entitled to a raise (which I got), but instead should have gotten a DECREASE in salary! Umm... had they told me that, I would have never accepted the position in the first place.

They apologized for their mistake, admitted it was an internal error. However, they want me to pay back $6000! 19 months later!!

I have a letter from the HR division head at the time of transfer, and it clearly stated my starting salary and date of confirmation, signed. I also have a form with a signature stating all of the information was correct and in accordance to County Civil Service rules.

I am fuming, and intend to do whatever it takes to fight this. I have documented everything, and ready to file a grievance report tomorrow.

Has anyone ever heard of this happening? If so, do I have a chance in court?
I''ve never heard of that identical scenario, but I do know that if you change your conduct in reliance upon the promise of another, and the other party breaks their promise, you can recover for damages that are directly the result of your reliance. Not to mention you clearly have all the evidence you need to show that they intended to give you a pay increase, as you already received the $6000 (unless I''m mis-reading your post).

I think you should see an employment lawyer or a plaintiff''s lawyer in your town. Contact the local bar association they''ll have a referrral hotline.

That is ridiculous. In my practice I deal frequently with the county. They don''t seem to listen unless there is a lawsuit involved where they can lose their pants.
 

ForteKitty

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 7, 2004
Messages
4,533
Update: I''m preparing to sue...


Which is rather unfortunate, since I''ll likely spend more than $6000 on attorney fees. But it''s a matter of principle.

They''re claiming the "overpayment" is due to human error and that money has to be recovered. However, I have documentation that they intentinally witheld information from me.

I''m claiming they bait & switched me, and that I have actually lost more than $10k in potential earnings. Hopefully the judge will side with me.

This totally pisses me off because I was supposed to take a few weeks off to visit friends, and now I have to prepare for court... whenever that may be. @#%&#$%...
 

Maisie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 30, 2006
Messages
12,578
Thats really awful. Its such a shame that its come this far. I believe however that once they see you are sincere when you say you will go to court they will back off. Its obvious they are in the wrong and they are trying to bully you into paying them back.

Good luck and well done for standing your ground!!

Maisie
 

bee*

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 14, 2006
Messages
12,170
Date: 3/23/2007 5:12:00 AM
Author: Maisie
Thats really awful. Its such a shame that its come this far. I believe however that once they see you are sincere when you say you will go to court they will back off. Its obvious they are in the wrong and they are trying to bully you into paying them back.


Good luck and well done for standing your ground!!


Maisie
I think the exact same. I''d say they''ll back off when they know that you are definitely prepared to sue them. I think its great that you''re going ahead with it-its rediculous what they''re doing
 

Aloros

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 2, 2006
Messages
947
If you''re in the right, I''m pretty sure you can get them to pay your legal fees too. That sucks that you have to go through this. My best wishes for a speedy courtroom appearance and a ruling in your favor!
 

fire&ice

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
7,828
Date: 3/6/2007 1:22:11 AM
Author:ForteKitty
I have a letter from the HR division head at the time of transfer, and it clearly stated my starting salary and date of confirmation, signed. I also have a form with a signature stating all of the information was correct and in accordance to County Civil Service rules.

I am fuming, and intend to do whatever it takes to fight this. I have documented everything, and ready to file a grievance report tomorrow.

Has anyone ever heard of this happening? If so, do I have a chance in court?
I''ve never heard of this happening with a signed employment letter. I don''t think they have a leg to stand on. Can you just let them sue you for the money instead of racking up legal bills on your side? I can''t imagine they can dock your pay.

Also, what about an arbitration board?
 

ForteKitty

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 7, 2004
Messages
4,533
Date: 3/24/2007 3:41:45 PM
Author: fire&ice
I've never heard of this happening with a signed employment letter. I don't think they have a leg to stand on. Can you just let them sue you for the money instead of racking up legal bills on your side? I can't imagine they can dock your pay.


Also, what about an arbitration board?
I already went thru the Departmental internal hearing process. No resolution... all they offered me was a payment plan, to "soften" the financial burden.. BS, I said. It's not about that at this point. It's a matter of what's right and what's wrong.

And yes, they can just dock my pay. If I do not pay up by April 1, 2007, it goes to County Auditor-Controller, and they will start deducting from my pay, using the 12-month payment plan they offered me.


 

fire&ice

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
7,828
Date: 3/25/2007 12:54:36 AM
Author: ForteKitty

Date: 3/24/2007 3:41:45 PM
Author: fire&ice
I''ve never heard of this happening with a signed employment letter. I don''t think they have a leg to stand on. Can you just let them sue you for the money instead of racking up legal bills on your side? I can''t imagine they can dock your pay.


Also, what about an arbitration board?
I already went thru the Departmental internal hearing process. No resolution... all they offered me was a payment plan, to ''soften'' the financial burden.. BS, I said. It''s not about that at this point. It''s a matter of what''s right and what''s wrong.

And yes, they can just dock my pay. If I do not pay up by April 1, 2007, it goes to County Auditor-Controller, and they will start deducting from my pay, using the 12-month payment plan they offered me.


Maybe I''ve never worked for the government - but this sounds INSANE. They are bullying you. Someone f''ed up & won''t take the responsibility.

Does the county have a labor relations board/group? Does the state/city where you live have an labor advocatcy/relations board? Here in VA, we have both. If neither of these work, hire an attorney. Run this by the attorney or labor group - If they arbitrarily can dock your pay, file a letter stating that you have NOT authorized such payment, do not feel you owe & it is in dispute.

I would seriously consider looking for another job. Don''t just quit though.

This is just plain wrong. I''m so sorry.
 

chiefneil

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 7, 2007
Messages
174
Your elected officials might be able to help too, like the County Board of Supervisors. Probably once you get a lawyer and file a lawsuit for breach of contract they''ll cave and settle, and you can get them to pay your lawyer''s fees as well.
 
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