If my employer used a dead EIN number, do I have any legal recourse?

About 6 months ago, I took a job running social media at an organization. In order to tax advantage of a tax break for hiring people on benefits, the owner reactivated an old buisness EIN she had. Then, 4 months ago, 1 of my paychecks bounced. Then my hours were cut. I was asked to create a new strategy for social media on unpaid time, then I was finally laid off. When I applied for unemployment I discovered the federal EIN on my W2 form was a

Asked on May 20, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It may have been violation of tax law (not reporting under the proper number, but  that doesn't help you: you cannot enforce or benefit from her tax violations. But on the other hand, when someone negligently (or carelessly) or intentionally does something which harms you, you can sue for what you lost or costs you incurred. This would be, at a *minimum*, careless in regards to you: carelessly using an inactive number and so interfering with processing. It could also be viewed an intentional bad act--deliberately using an inactive number to avoid paying her obligations. Therefore, you should be able to sue the business and possibly the owner, too, for her own personal wrong act in using the inactive number, for any unemployment payments you should have received but did not, as well as for any costs those delayed payments caused you, such as if you had late fees or interest charges because you were not able to make payments on your own obligations. If the amount at stake (i.e. the amount of missing payments) is less than the small claims limit, sue in small claims, as your own attorney, to reduce costs (you'll just have the filing fee at stake) and speed things up (small claims cases move faster).


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