What to do if I’ve been working for a couple as a babysitter but they choose to fire me, not give me my pay and sent all this over texts?

They said they will ask for pay in court since the wife lost her job, due to the fact that I was 5 minutes late. I told them I had other kids so that I would have in the morning before them and they would ride the bus to school, so I would have to wait on the bus and be late that morning. I wanted to know if this would stand up in court or if I would have to pay out to them?

Asked on September 13, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No, their claim should  not stand up in court. A person losing her job cannot be shown, from a legal standpoint point, to have been caused by a babysitter being late one day: the person could take a sick or personal day, use a vacation day, call in late, take the child to work, have a friend or family member watch it, etc.; further, if people are fired due to being late, there's inevitiably more going on--a history of lateness, or example, or performance issues. Since she cannot show that you being late directly caused her job loss, or that her losing her job was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of you being late, she should not be able to sustain a claim. You, on the other hand, are entitled to be paid for all work done, and can sue (including in small claims court) for any amounts not paid.

Note that it is legal to fire someone via texts, so you do not have grounds to recover your job or seek compensation for the firing; the firing was legal.


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