“It seems like they should have to pay since they put it in writing, but I can't afford a lawyer. This job was my only source of income, and now I can't afford my mortgage.”
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If my last employer promised that I would receive payment for my notice period after an unexpected layoff, do they have to pay? It's in writing from HR that they would pay, but they didn't. When I emailed them, the response was: "It was incorrect of HR to say that we would pay.”
It seems like they should have to pay since they put it in writing, but I can't afford a lawyer. In fact, this job was my only source of income, and now that this has happened, I can't afford my mortgage. I have no desire to be petty, but this has caused severe financial hardship.
If they put it in writing, my understanding is that in most states, they are responsible to pay. I’m not a lawyer, though, so I would encourage you to follow up with one as what I say is wholly conjecture.
That said, whether it’s right or wrong, it’s unlikely that you’re going to get them to pay without getting an attorney or having some recourse that they will want to avoid. People get screwed all the time not because the other party was right but because the cost of getting what they’re owed is just high enough that it’s not worth fighting for.
If the balance of an agreement is less than it would cost to take them to court or get a demand letter written, then it’s a tough call to make. You could end up spending more than you are paid because those things don’t come cheap. That said, if you feel confident that bad reviews on Glassdoor, a letter indicating that you might pursue legal action or some other response would be enough, then send the letter and maybe you will get a positive response. In general, though, I’ve found that people who don’t want to pay up often will not unless given a really good incentive to do so.