The kicker was that he was more than happy to loan us a couple of hundred dollars each, as long as we paid it back out of the next four paychecks and with taxes collected against it going back into his pocket. Treating repaid loans as income was setting himself up for tax fraud.
Still another time he distributed a memo stating, "Too many mistakes are occurring at the shop, so the new policy is that on your first mistake you will receive a written warning. On the second mistake you will be docked a day's pay as punishment. On the third mistake you will be dismissed." Again, as I confirmed, docking pay in such a fashion was against the state's labor laws.
Bill started getting letters from government revenue and labor offices, undergoing audits, and receiving phone calls from government officials -- all of which made him decidedly angry and even harder to work for. Employees left. Customers abandoned him in droves. Eventually he wasn't taking in enough revenue to pay the electric bill, so he closed shop.
I think I can safely say that a lesson we all took away with us when we left that business was to do your homework -- not only with your job duties and skills, but also with the legal limits of labor practices and accounting. Granted, not all bosses are as suspect as my former supervisor, but it doesn't hurt to know when you're covered by the courts. Even after moving on to bigger and better networks, I still double-check everything on payroll and stay current with my knowledge of the state's wage and labor laws.
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This story, "Payroll-pinching boss receives payback," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more crazy-but-true stories in the anonymous Off the Record blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.