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.
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.
I received an email today from the company asking me to sign a 'wage acknowledgment form'. None of the other staff received this form
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:
Can they retract my pay for the days I missed or take any other actions?
Should I consult a lawyer?
What is the function of the 'wage acknowledgment form' at this time?
I'm in California.