A Cautionary Tale, Based On A True Story
Tom and Helen Conway had a live-in housekeeper named Greta, who met a labor lawyer online, who said that the Conways had been paying Greta far less than they should have for the past eight years. They were in a meeting at the offices of the law firm of Greta’s lawyer, John McDonald.
McDonald had just presented the Conways with a letter that said that the amount that they owed Greta for back pay, interest and penalties was more than $1,500,000 and offered to settle for $1,000.000 if they agreed to accept that settlement offer right there after reading the letter.
Helen began crying after reading this. Tom felt a lump in his throat and then a dull ache in his chest. They both looked up at Greta, who had been looking out the window, not facing them. Helen sobbed, “Greta,” she sobbed, “you have been like family to us. How could you do this?”
McDonald sharply interrupted Helen and said to the Conways, “Please talk only to me from now on. Greta has moved her things out of your home and will not be coming back again. From now on, I represent Greta and you must speak with me, not her.”
McDonald looked Tom sternly in the eye, and then did the same with Helen. Then, he said quietly, “You have read the letter. What is your answer?”
After a brief whispered conversation, Tom turned back to McDonald and said, “We won’t pay. It’s not right, and we won’t agree to it.”
Then something happened that surprised the Conways. McDonald smiled and looked genuinely happy and said, “In that case, we are suing you on behalf of Greta for the entire back pay amount, the entire amount of penalties and interest, plus twice those amounts as damages for violation of her civil rights.” He handed them documents that were notice of the lawsuit and bid them good bye.
Stunned at what had happened, they walked out of the law firm offices as if on autopilot, and took the elevator, back to the building entrance. As they walked to their car, Tom asked Helen, “What will we do? This sounds awful.” Helen replied, “We’d better call that attorney we used when we started up our businesses’ corporations, and ask her what to do.” To Be continued………