Legal Question in Education Law in California

My question is: Is it possible to sue this corporation which has not paid me for some time?

I worked for my university's student government, which is a non-profit corporation.

I have yet to receive payment for my work from Nov 2014 to April 2015.

I have tried multiple times to reach the director, in various forms of communication and it was only after emailing the president of the university, have I received anything except one vague email that basically said "we'll see." Though another executive member is involved in his "CC" of emails, neither she has taken any steps to resolve this with me.

This game of avoiding me has gone on for four months now to no avail.

While I was in college, non-payment prevented me from buying basic necessities.

And recently, non-payment and lack of employer ID, etc, has almost cost me forfeiting my Covered CA medical insurance, as they could register someone who claimed to have had employment but did not have any information one would get from a W-2 form.

This out of the ordinary for me and I suspect it is retaliation which has to do with the director's passive-aggressiveness towards me.

May be relevant: Autumn

From the first day I won the overwhelming majority vote to appoint me to my position, I was physically threatened and told to "watch my back" from a VP student. After which, a large rumor circulated around the office by his girlfriend, saying that we had showered together, which is untrue. Because it reached me, I went to the director on my first week to tell him what has escalated. He said he'd have a talk with the VP student.

So right away, there was plenty of hostility towards me from the executive students the director worked closely with.

May be relevant: Spring

It was common knowledge in our office that the director had a thing for his secretary - an attractive busty young student my age - with whom I developed a friendship with due to personal tragedies. On our way out of the office one evening, he saw us walking and she remarked, "Oh no, now I'm going to get more text messages from him asking what I'm doing with you. I tell him that's none of his business." From around that point on, his demeanor changed.

May be relevant as well: Near Summer

The reason I quit student government is because I'd finally had enough when I was being treated unfairly. It was demanded that I go to governance meetings held on Fridays, under the threat of losing my job. I had a good reason not to: Fridays were typically days that I had military obligations with the USMC, of which I was an Officer Candidate at the time. It was possible for 2-3 others to go instead, but they simply didn't want to.

I emailed in my letter explaining what had happened to the director the night before we had to leave for weekend training at Camp Pendleton. I never got a response, nor my payments owed me, I was "removed from office" two weeks later as if I did something wrong, and it's been a struggle to even get acknowledgement ever since.

Therefore, is it possible to sue that student government corporation (or at least settle) for the outstanding monies owed me as well as to sue for the damages, such as nearly losing my medical insurance, and the emotional toll its taken on me?

Asked on 9/17/15, 3:08 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Andrew Harrell W. Andrew Harrell, Attorney at Law

Yes you can sue a non-profit. You may also be able to sue the university. You can sue for back pay, interest, and possible infliction of severe mental distress. You may also be able to sue for wrongful discharge when you were fired.

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Answered on 9/17/15, 8:21 pm

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