Can a family member file an employer complaint on behalf of an employee without the employee getting terminated?

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Can a family member file an employer complaint on behalf of an employee without the employee getting terminated?

My mother has been working at this place for 7 years. She never gets to take a vacation, she always works in pain and she always fills if someone else is out, even on her days off. Sometimes she work 17 days straight. After all the hours she works, she never makes overtime because I know the employer is cutting hours off before putting in payrolls to keep her from getting it. She barely brings home $400 bi-weekly. Now she wants to take a vacation but her employer is making her chose between her job or her family, when she never asks for time off.

Asked on November 26, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

A family member has no right to file a complaint on behalf of another family member, and since your right to complain on behalf of your mother is not protected, your mother could be terminated because of your attempted interference in her job and employer-employee relationship.
There is no law requiring vacations or sick days, so it is legal to never let her have a vacation or to expect her to work while in pain. There is no law restricting the number of days she can be required to work in a row, or preventing her from being fired if she takes time off without employer permission. There things are unfair, but legal.
The only thing you describe which may be illegal is that if your mother is an hourly employee, the employer *must* track her hours accurately, must pay her for all hours worked, and must pay her overtime when she works for than 40 hours in week; she also must be paid at least minimum wage. If these things are not happening, the employer is violating labor law, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Your mother--not you; only her, as the employee--could contact the state department of labor to bring a wage and hour complaint. She could potentially get the back compensation (e.g. unpaid hours or overtime) she is owed for the last 2 years (such complaints only go back two years).


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