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I recently completed a 6-month part-time contract as an instructor with a company in the for-profit education space. They don't have a written PTO policy, but generally, we've requested substitute instructors for any days off that we need. We did still get paid for our days off as our pay was pro-rata hourly and we didn't clock in/out. Thus a person's pay was the same whether or not they were there. Quite nice no?

Toward the end of my contract, I ended up taking some time off right for religious pilgrimage at the end of the contract such that I missed the last 4 days of class and have been traveling since.

I just got back to the US and to checking email, etc. In the time I've been gone a few things have happened.

  1. A couple of days after I left I received an email from my boss cc'ing her boss asking me to refresh her memory as to why I was unable to attend the last day of class. I remember two occasions where I informed her that I'd be traveling during these days. The first time was months in advance and the second was a few weeks in advance. I also notified in writing everyone else that I'd be missing these days on a separate occasion exactly 2 weeks in advance (have pics). I haven't responded to her email yet as I am uncertain what she wants from it.

  2. I received an email today from the company asking me to sign a 'wage acknowledgment form'. None of the other staff received this form

  3. I just discovered that I've also just been removed from the slack channels associated with this class and employer. from my past contracts with this company, I've been kept in the slack channels to help students after my contract finished. The TAs in our team were kept on the slack channels.

Obviously, this employer isn't keen on working with me in the future (I've done about 18 months with this company with different contracts so far). My questions based on the information I've given are:

  1. Can they retract my pay for the days I missed or take any other actions?

  2. Should I consult a lawyer?

  3. What is the function of the 'wage acknowledgment form' at this time?

EDIT:

I'm in California.

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    I'd say you consult a lawyer, and also see what users answer here. – DarkCygnus Aug 21 at 18:37
  • What makes you think that they want to retract your pay? – sf02 Aug 21 at 18:40
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    IANAL but if your contract is over then I don't see why you would need to sign anything nor do I see a problem with them removing your access. – sf02 Aug 21 at 18:52
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    I don't think any of us can answer that. Have you asked them? – dwizum Aug 21 at 19:15
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    Perhaps you should ask for clarification from the company? They would be the most likely party that knows why you've received that form. – Steve-o169 Aug 21 at 20:08
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First of all, write both people a note saying you're sorry for the confusion and you honestly believed you informed them about your absence properly. Explain your absence once again. Ask them to reinstate you as a staff member (if that's what you want).

Ask yourself, and maybe them, "what's in it for me if I sign this wage acknowledgement form?"

Read the paper, obviously. And read the employment agreement again.

If they refuse to pay you until you sign, then maybe you should sign. But if nothing's in it for you, why sign it?

As for hiring a lawyer, it's expensive and time-consuming for you. If many thousands of dollars are in dispute, you might consider it. But your time is worth something, so ask yourself whether a lawyer will get you a reasonable return on your time.

Please consider just putting this episode behind you.

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    Keep in mind, in most jurisdictions a company cannot withhold pay with the excuse of signing a new contract, used to pay you less from an older already finished contract. At this point its good to inform yourself which ombudsman to talk to, or which labor law person to get into contact with to force the company to pay. – morbo Aug 24 at 10:36

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