“They made me the scapegoat”: He Got a $5,000 Payout After His Company Wouldn’t Pay Him What He Was Owed

A man recently shared a story about how he managed to legally receive a compensation of $5,000 after initially being shortchanged $38 upon exiting a company. Here’s what he had to say.

The Man Got A New Job

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In 1998, the man moved from Michigan out to Virginia, taking a job as an irrigation tech for a large regional landscape company.

Within six months of the new job, the man realized his mistake, as working as an irrigation tech for landscapers is a very tough job.

He Was A Scapegoat

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“You are treated as a necessary evil and always get the (bad) end of the stick,” he said.

“I had heard through the grapevine that some area managers had screwed up a couple big maintenance contracts and that somehow they were going to try and make me the scapegoat,” he remembered.

He Gave Notice

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After discovering this, the man promptly went to the second contractor he had originally interviewed for. He got a job there and handed in his one-week notice at his place of work, though his manager started pressuring him into giving them more time.

They Wanted More Notice

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The man was fed up and told them that if they asked for more notice once more, then they would notice the next morning that he did not work there anymore. By the end of the week, the man turned in his uniform and his reimbursement slip, which was for $38.

They Wouldn’t Reimburse Him

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His work told him that he would not get any money back for his uniforms and that they would not pay him the $38.

This annoyed the man, but he decided to let it go at the time and didn’t fight them on it.

He Started Legal Proceedings

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The next week, he contacted his local labor board to file a complaint, explaining that for the entire time he had worked for them, he was being paid a salary as a non-exempt employee.

As such, he asked to be paid for all of the overtime he had worked.

They Had A Meeting

They Include Everyone in a Conversation
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Several weeks passed, and the man’s complaint worked through the system. Soon enough, he received a call from the corporation’s controller.

The man said, “We have a meeting and go over everything with a bunch of back and forth, and he was trying to justify that I was really exempt and they didn’t owe me anything until I had really had enough of his lies,” he said.

He added, “I told him straight up that we might disagree on how much they owe me, but I’ll guarantee they owe me something.”

He Made Himself A Nuisance

You Can't Resist Pocketing Sachets of Sugar Salt and Pepper
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The man also made a point of going from branch to branch each payday, standing outside the gate with a sign telling their non-exempt employees that they were being cheated out of overtime and could sue the company.

He Got A Pay-off

Having Money
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Eventually, the man signed an NDA and got sent a check for $5,000. A clause of this was to not share any information about their overtime policy with other employees.

There were no penalties written into his NDA, and to the man’s knowledge, it was not something that was notarized.

He Changed The Whole System

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Within two months, his former company and several others in his area started paying what they called, ‘Chinese Overtime.’

The man said, “If you work your way through the math and how the labor board determines your overtime in this case, it pretty much worked out correctly. So, in summary, my employer tried to screw me out of $38, and I made them pay me $5,000.”

Was His Revenge Justified?

If She Doesn’t Reply, She Might Still Be Interested
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Long since this incident, the man’s former company has been sold out to a larger national competitor. So he felt it was now safe to share his story of revenge with the Reddit community. Unsurprisingly, the majority of people have supported him for what he did.

People Responded

Emojis on Reddit
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One Redditor said, “Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, you get double the unpaid overtime.”

Another commented, “I’d have signed you up as the class representative and gone after all the unpaid overtime for every employee who worked there the previous three years.”


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