What to do if my wife's ex-employer is saying that she quit when in fact she got fired?
Question Details: My wife got wrote up at work. They had a discussion about it and other lil issues which led to attitudes being shown. Her district manager asked her if she was going to leave because she was told she needed to make a decision about what she wanted. My wife did not awnser her question and was talking about another topic. Her district manager apparently didn't like the attitude and said,"Brittany just go, I'm tired of your attitude". That was just out of office where there are absolutely no cameras. My wife said. "I bet if I got a write-up and didn't sign it, I would be fired". Since she wrote her assistant up but she refused to sign it and nothing was done. So words were said back and fourth about it and her DM eventually said, "Brittany you can just go:. With the regional manager on phone by this point. So she grabbed her purse and went to leave. Before she made it out of store her regional manager told her district manager to make sure and get her store keys so she went back and gave them to her, grabbed her things and left. This was Friday she was only one scheduled to work on Saturday. So she took it that she was fired. Now they are trying to keep her bonus that she made for her last month, which should have been approximately $1500, plus the vacation time she is due since she was fired. She has contacted the president of company for an explanation. He told her that the DM, RM, and only other employee says she quit. She asked him how he said they expected you at work the next day. Yet, how when they took her keys plus already had someone else working her shift. He band her from everyone of their stores for absolutely no reason all she keep asking for is an explanation how she quit and how she was supposed to do her job when couldn't go in store after they told her to leave then asked for her work keys? We have no way to prove it unless we somehow make them supply us with the little bit of video that shows her walking out and having turn around and bring keys back we don't know if they have audio or not. What should we do? Their a multi-million if not billion dollar company. I'm a farmer pushing $28,000 a year, with only high school diploma. We don't have much money for lawyer but she's owed that money and worked hard for it.
Whether she walked back to hand in her keys or not will not prove whether or not she was fired or quit: someone can quit and would still have to hand in her keys, after all--you don't get to keep your access to the business when you quit. So if there are multiple people who say that she quit, it may be very difficult to prove otherwise, especially since you can quit by actions as well as by works--such as by walking out during your job or shift.
As to the bonus: if she earned that bonus according to the terms of a written bonus agreement, by meeting the targets or goals in the agreement, they have to pay it to her unless something in the agreement itself gives them grounds to not pay: e.g. if the agreement states you must be employed when the bonus is paid to receive it. So if there is a written bonus agreement, your wife should review it and see if, under these circumstances, she is still entitled to it. If she is, then if she is not paid, she could sue for the money; she would sue based on "breach of contract," or the company violating the terms of the agreement.
But if there is no written agreement, then the bonus is most likely discretionary: one that the employer can choose to pay or not pay. If the bonus is discretionary--there is nothing in writing guarantying it--they can decide to not pay her.
As to vacation: in your state (KY), unusued vacation is payable when employment ends IF that is the company's policy or there is a contract requiring them to pay it. On the the other hand, companies may have a policy of not paying out vacation days, and if that was your wife's employer's policy, they would not have to pay her. She should look at any employee handbooks and also at past practice (did they pay other employees when employment ended?) to determine the policy. If the policy is that they should have paid her for her unused vacation time, she can sue for the money.