If I live with my boss but now that I am moving out and she is threatening to fire me, what do I do?

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If I live with my boss but now that I am moving out and she is threatening to fire me, what do I do?

I moved in with my boss about a month ago because I am 18 years old; I was looking for a cheap place to rent. My boss promised me that I’d be able to save money and have cheap rent. She never made a rental agreement even though I bugged her about it. Now she has raised the amount of rent that she originally said I would have to pay and tacked on a bunch of other expenses. Long story short, she took my entire paycheck and is telling me I’ll have to give her my whole paycheck in another 2 weeks. So I decided to move back home, however as soon as I told my boss I was going to move out she flipped on me and is now threatening me with my job. What do I do? I feel like I owe her something for the time I stayed there and any associated expenses but what she is telling me is that I owe her is nowhere near what we originally verbally agreed on. I’m feeling intimidated because she’s my boss and I don’t want to lose my job. I really know how to handle this situation.

Asked on September 27, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If there was anything romantic or sexual between the two of you, or she wanted a romantic or sexual relationship which you resisted, then her threatening to fire you if you move out would almost certainly be illegal sex-based employment harassment or discrimination, and you could contact the federal EEOC to file a complaint. You may be entitled, in this case, to compensation.
Otherwise, however, it is legal: an employer may lease or rent to an employee; and without a contract, you are an "employee at will" with no right to a job, who can be fired at any time, for any reason--including that you no longer wish to live with her. Bear in mind that you have essentially no legal protection (other than against certain kinds of discrimination/harassment, such as sex-based discrimination or harassment; see above) as an employee at will, so she can continue to hold this over your head, to threaten your job, etc. This is not a good situation; better to end it now even it means losing your job and having to find another, or else you are likely to find her continuously trying to control you through your job.


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