Do I have a retaliation claim

Three weeks ago I notified the owner of
the small company that I work at that
once again he had shorted my paycheck.
He continually calculates overtime
based on two week periods averaging it
out to avoid overtime. We have talked
about this several times in the past.
He drug his feet and waited an entire
pay period again before paying my back
wages. Now not even a week later i get
called in and told that I’ve been mean
to a employee, and that I’m being
demoted with a 20 pay cut. I did not
get written up or any paperwork which
would be policy per handbook. Do I have
a retaliation case or is it just time
to walk away? Jon in iowa

Asked on May 23, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Iowa

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It's probably time to walk away to a different job, unless the amount of overtime you lost due to how he improperly calculates it is substantial. That is because there is no compensation for frustration or inconvenience, only for actual monetary/economic losses in cases like this. For example, a $20 paycut, even if found to be illegal retaliation (an employer may not retaliate against you for looking to vindicate your legal rights), would only add up to $1,040 in compensation over an entire year. It is possible, therefore, that the amount you could recover if you took legal action is not worth the time or cost of a lawsuit, and that you'd be best served by finding other employment.


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