The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

February 19, 2014

Ex-worker seeks support for oral agreement

WILMINGTON TOWNSHIP — A Wilmington Township woman said her former employer violated an oral agreement that it would continue to pay her after she was no longer employed.

Debora D. Witkowski also alleged that Green Supreme Inc. and its owner and president, James W. Biros, both of 51 Greenfield Road, Wilmington Township, owe her reimbursement for Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes that she paid.

The company has responded with preliminary objections arguing there is not enough information about the supposed contract to draft a “well-drawn answer,” and has asked that the complaint be dismissed.

Witkowski, of 3582 Bethel-New Wilmington Road, started working for Green Supreme, a company that grows, makes and sells organic barley supplements, in 2001 as a sales representative and secretary, she said in the complaint filed Dec. 13.

She said she was paid an hourly rate and commissions on sales originated by her or referrals from her “originated customers.” The commissions were supposed to continue “after the termination of her employment,” she said.

The arrangement “was considered by Green Supreme to be in lieu of the payment of a formal employee retirement benefit,” she said.

Witkowski said she went on paid leave starting in July 2012 to care for her husband, Raymond, known as a magician who worked under the name “Magic by Raymond,” during his terminal illness. He died March 6 last year.

In April, while she still was on leave, Biros told her she would not have a job to return to because of a decline in business, she said, but that she would be paid until April 2014.

She went to the office in July to collect personal items and meet with Biros to discuss “unresolved tax and compensation issues,” she said. After the meeting, Biros stopped paying her, she said.

Those unresolved tax issues include an allegation that the company illegally misclassified her as an independent contractor in terms of her commissions from 2001 through 2010, she said. Because of this misclassification, the company did not make employer contributions to Social Security and Medicare, she said.

Witkowski is seeking lost hourly pay from July through this coming April, and commissions, and alleges breach of contract and violations of the state Wage, Payment and Collection Law and the Federal Insurance Contributions Act.

In their preliminary objections, Greene Supreme and Biros said Witkowski did not lay a foundation for the alleged contract, and does not make clear when it was drawn, if it is written and how long it was supposed to last.

Witkowski responded in a motion to strike the objections that the agreement is oral, and the defendants appear to challenge the agreement with other employees, not with her.

She also said the defendants waited too long to file their objections, which she called “nonsensical and inappropriate.”

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