If I was fired because my boss got into an argument with my husband, can he prorate my salary?

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If I was fired because my boss got into an argument with my husband, can he prorate my salary?

I worked on a horse ranch that paid me $500 a month, plus housing. It was

a service contract. The owner didn’t like my husband who was my employee. Last Friday my husband asked Bill if he needed any help. Bill started yelling and cussing at my husband. He then told us both to get out of his house because I was no longer employed on their ranch. We left. That was on about 10 days ago. When I went to pick up my check today, he wouldn’t pay me. He said he couldn’t sign the checks. Then an hour later he sent me an email telling me that my check was only going to be $160. Since I was fired

wrongfully as far as I’m concerned, can he prorate my check?

Asked on March 5, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You were not fired wrongly, unless you were fired in violation of the terms of a written contract. Otherwise, except as prohibited by a contract, you may be terminated at any time, for any reason whatsover.
However, regardless of the reason you were terminated, you must be paid for all the time you worked and all the work you did.  So if you were normally paid $500 per month, that works out to (roughly) $16.00 per day. If you only worked 10 days in your last month before being terminated, they could pay you just $160.00; but if you worked more than that, you should have been paid $16 (or so) for each day you worked. If paid less than you should have been, you could sue in small clams court for the difference.
If you were fired in violation of the terms of written contract, you could sue for "breach of contract" and could be entitled to much more--exactly how much depends on how much you might be owed under the contract. (For example: if the contract said you'd get a month's notice of termination, you could sue for a month of salary and the equivalent value of the housing.)


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