Conquent: Without Limits
Conquent: Without Limits
Kristen Fife's Blog

Labor Disputes - What//Why/How/Where

2015-05-12 12:03:26

Today I am going to share a personal anecdote to help workers understand how the State Department/Bureau of Labor and Industries can help workers. In 2007, I took over as a contract recruiter for a local smallish company. Their exiting contract recruiter was leaving to found a publication startup. During my interviews I really clicked with her, and we stayed in touch over the next year.

In 2008, she contacted me just as I was completing a contract at Microsoft with an opportunity that was amazingly good. I was being hired to move to New Orleans or a year and set up a staffing office geared at helping single parents get back on their feet. I had an offer letter, an email address, and I met several other new employees at a local hotel, with the office set to open in downtown Seattle less than a month later. I even did some work on my vacation in Las Vegas.

Imagine my surprise when on the day I, and the other new employees, were supposed to go to orientation when we discovered that the address we had been given didn't exist. All of this happened in the course of three weeks. I had turned down a contract at Microsoft to join this venture and it turned out to be bogus. Then the recession hit.

Being in HR, I filed a claim against her with the Bureau of Labor and Industries for back wages. I had to provide documentation (the offer letter, copies of emails regarding meetings for the first day, the hotel meet and greet, and even the work that I had done while on vacation were all admissible. In my case the wage dispute was several thousand dollars, not chump change. I honestly never expected to see the money, but the upshot of my action (and I advised the other “employees” to consider the same) was that she could not open a business or work in WA state under the same social security number until this situation was resolved.

Much to my delight, about two months ago, I started receiving checks for the outstanding balance (and interest) for the assessed monies. I’m tickled that I have the money coming in. She is either giving it voluntarily or if she is working her wages may be garnished. The funds are held in escrow; when a payment is made, the BL&I sends me a form that I need to fill out and either mail back or I can take in and pick the checks up. (It’s a 90 minute drive to their location, and they are only open M-F 8-4:30 so I’ve been having the checks mailed to me.)

To get started researching how to get your questions answered, you can try a Google search with your state + “labor and industry”, or you can also try navigating the Federal Department of Labor.
Just be aware that if you file any sort of claim or dispute, there is most likely a very exacting and involved process and you may not see results for years.

How You Can Help Me Help You
A Recruiting Career (And Why Your MLIS Might Be Good For It)

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