Legal Question in Business Law in Washington

Unpaid Emloyment

If i was fired from a daycare cause she couldnt give me a draw when i asked for it more than once when it has been a month since i have gotten any money and couldnt make it to work casue i had no money to get my car fixed which i only asked her for one to two hundred dollars or anything they could help me with, and they couldnt, they said they didnt have a dime. So i told them i couldnt get anyway to work so then they fired me. and i still havent been paid and they are not plaining to pay me til the 22nd of may so then it would be a month in a half til i get any money from them. is there a certain amount of time she has til she pays me since she fired me?? I also have a question about what i could do if she also lies about how many times she feeds the kids and how she treats the kids for bad behavior, and how she is over on her numbers some days when i left. She writes down on her food refunding that they have a morning snack of juice and crackers adn they dont have morning snack cause i am there. And when a kid does something that they are not supposed to she grabs them by their arms and forces them by the arm to the ground. She also has a dog that isnt to friendly to the kids if food or toys are involved. What are my leal rights

Asked on 5/09/08, 5:23 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Susan Beecher Susan L. Beecher, Atty at Law

Re: Unpaid Emloyment

As I understand your question, the daycare was behind in paying you. Since they could not pay you the full amount that they owed you, you requested a partial payment, which was also not forthcoming. Thereafter, you indicated that you could not come to work unless they paid you (so that you could get your car running.)

No one is required by law to work for free. You have been laid off, not fired. When an employer says, "Keep working, but I can't afford to pay you," you are no longer employed. You are a volunteer. So, the first legal right you have is to apply for unemployment.

Second, you have a legal right to be paid through your last day of work at your next regular payday. If you and your former employer originally agreed that you would be paid every two weeks, for example, you must be paid at the next two week payday. Pay periods cannot be longer than one month, so if your pay periods have always been hazy with this employer, there is no way they can get around paying you everything due by the end of the month. If you have trouble collecting, the Dept of Labor & Industries may be able to help you, although reports on the effectiveness of their efforts are mixed. Still, if you cannot afford an attorney, that would be your best choice.

Finally, if you suspect or know that abuse is going on in this daycare center, you should report it to the Washington State Department of Early Learning, the agency that licenses and monitors daycares. Lawguru won't let me put a phone number here (I think they worry that I will put my own number) but you can find contact information for this agency at

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Answered on 5/09/08, 6:10 pm

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