If I was uprooted and relocated only to be fired 3 months later, what are my rights?

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If I was uprooted and relocated only to be fired 3 months later, what are my rights?

I am a 1099 employee. My company uprooted me and my kids from our home in TX to bring me to FL. I have been here 3 months. Now, on impulse, they want to fire me and only pay me 1 weeks severance. I think I deserve more; these people should not be able to put me out like that.

Asked on June 14, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The primary question is this:

1) Did the company, knowing you would have to move, promise you something--like continued employment--to intentionally induce you to move; and if so, was it reasonable for you to rely on that promise? If the answer is yes, they you may have a legal claim under the theory of "promissory estoppel" and may be able to get re-employment or compensation.

2) If, on the other hand, the company did make promises to you, but you chose on your own to uproot your family to pursue an opportunity, then you would have no claim; it's only when someone makes promises to induce you to do something that they may incur liability. And as a general matter, there is no obligation to pay severance at all, so therefore no minimum amount that must be paid.

If you think the answer to 1) is yes, you should speak with an employment attorney.

Also--there is no such thing as a "1099 employee"; either you are an employee or you are a 1099 contractor (more  properly an indendent contractor). Whether you an employee or not depends on the facts--how much control the company had over you; whether you had other clients and were  economically independent to some degree, or were totally dependent on this one employer; etc.--and not on what they called you or how  they paid you. If you should have been an employee, you may have been eligible for overtime, for benefits, for having the company pay your FICA match, etc., and may have a claim for back pay and benefits. This is something else to discuss with an employment lawyer.


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