January 28, 2023

Author of this article:

Amy Dickinson  •  Postmedia Network: Special Offer

Publishing date:

Nov 27, 2022  •  3 days ago  •  3 minute read

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An employee at a spa realizes that their employer isn’t paying them their fair wages. Photo taken by file photo /Getty Images

Dear Amy I work in a small spa. Over the last eight years my family and the owners’ family have become friends.

We have young children that play together.

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Recently, the owner of the business confided to me that he and his wife had been infringing on the law by not paying their employees an hourly wage minimum wage. This was in addition to their time booking with clients.

This has been going for years. I legally owe $9,000-10,000 in back pay.

Even though the owners claimed everything was legitimate, they did not mention paying me any owed money.

The other employees do not know that they owe money.

I spoke with a lawyer and although by law the money is owed to me, I will have to take the business to court – or try to settle.

I am so upset. My boss/friend has made me feel betrayed, but I am obligated to inform my coworkers. They are also owed money.

I’m not sure I can even remain friends or work for this company anymore.

They have lied to me about other employees.

Do I need to ask my bosses or friends for the money?

What should I do?

– Rubs Me Wrong!

Dear Wrong You should pursue the back pay owed to you, following your lawyer’s advice (a letter from the lawyer might inspire the business owners to avoid court and offer you a fair settlement).

In the event that you part ways with your friend, you should accept it and start actively looking for a job at another business.

The letter that your lawyer sends to spa owners may include a statement strongly suggesting that they restore pay to all their employees. Your lawyer might contact the employees separately, gathering more clients and billing hours.

This should be a concern for all business owners. The spa’s own lawyer will advise them on how to settle, deal with any penalties, and continue to stay in business, legitimately.


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Dear Amy My sister and I shared a secret fifty-two years ago. She asked that I keep it a secret.

She She has five children: two with her first husband, and three with three other men.

I’m experiencing guilt about holding this secret and feel my adult nieces and nephews have a basic right to know their truth.

Her She is afraid of being disowned once her children learn the truth. She sees no reason for her to upset so many families.

Is that her secret?

The letters I read in your column make it clear that eventually, with the prevalence of DNA testing, it’s only a matter of time until this is revealed.

Do you have a secret?

What are your thoughts?

– Not my Secret?

Please Note: Knowing a secret doesn’t make it “yours.” So this secret is not yours to share.

Yes, your sister’s adult children do have the right to know their DNA heritage. They should be told by their sister.

She Either she can tell them herself, and hope to control the narrative, or she could wait until the inevitable DNA test reveals the truth.

It is important to remember that if any of the affected siblings (or children) registers on a site, they may be connected with other DNA relatives (unknown halves-siblings or children, for example) and begin the process of untangling this complicated web.

It might help your sister to have a conversation about this and assure her of your continued support.

Dear Amy “To Tell or Not” wondered whether to tell her future husband about her previous sexual abuse history.

My abuse history was not dealt with until I lost my husband and had my child.

Finally, I had the courage to tell my husband. He responded by writing a letter in which he explained what had happened. His response? “I always knew there was something wrong with you.”

I was shocked. He Never said anything to be supportive.

This was the beginning of our separation.

Had I known he would have thought I was “defective,” I probably would have never married him.

– Learned too Late

Dear Learned: I’m so sorry. I appreciate your point of view.

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