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  • Faulty Equipment, Missing Saftey Equipment...

    Hello Everbody,

    This is Penny typing for the both of us, since Ken is terrible at it. Down to business:

    Ken started working for a Hazardous Chemical Company about 3 weeks ago. He had been putting in applications in for Cement Mixer Driver, but had yet to recieve a callback, so he took this job for lower wages: $15.50hr. A Cement Mixer Driver makes around $19.00hr. here. Anyway,he was happy to have the job. He went to work everyday, did his job of delivering Hazardous Chemicals to Water Treatment Plants and the like all over Northern California and Northern Nevada without complaint. The first time he was to be paid, he noticed a mistake on his check when he went to cash it. Wrong SSN and mistyped name. They told him they would have it to him by the following Monday. In actuality they did not get it to him until Wednesday of the next week.

    The job was a lot more physical than he was used to and he has been working 12 to 15 hour days, coming home and barely eating and then going back out at 5:30 the next morning after a half hour bus ride. He was happy to have the job. Then this past week a couple of things happened. His saftery equipment started coming up missing from his truck. Keep in mind that he transports Sulfuric acid, chlorine gas (to prisons) and such. Then, on Monday they gave him his own route. This was the first time he was going to be driving and delivering these chemicals all by himself. He was not yet completely familiar with the route and made slow time making sure he went where he needed to go. He ended up driving for 18 hours that day. Very illegal. Then, he finds out that this is the poop route. He gets all the routes that others have not had time on their routes to deliver in a timely manner. He didn't get home until 2:40am after having to walk half the way home (3 1/2 miles) until he can get to a place that had taxi's that would pick him up. Since he had started to walk home, the taxi companies wouldn't pick him up without an address.

    They called the next morning wanting to know where he was when it would be illegal for him to drive. So, he took Tuesday off. Wednesday, while delivering clorine gas, the lift got stuck and he didn't have the option of putting the lift back up. These metal gas bottles are not strapped in very safely. One of them fell off and hit on the neck. Needless to say it scared the poop out of him, since it was also facing in his direction.

    He wasn't sure he wanted to continue with a company that wanted their drivers to drive illegally, with shoddy safety features, and no safe way of tying down these extremely hazardous chemicals.

    Wednesday morning he finally got a call from one of the local cement companies. He was offered a job with them for the going wage for cement mixer drivers here in Reno. He still went back to work Thursday. He was going to finish the week and then go to work for the cement mixer driving company. Then, they had on his route for the day, (this is during a heat wave that has broken all heat wave records in Northern Nevada), to pick up 750lb drums of a hazardous chemical without the benefit of any handtruck (dolly). Then, he finds out when he gets into the yard last night that they have been sitting there for over a year and that every other driver that they have been given to that has been with the company for a while, declined when they saw how heavy they were. He was incensed. They gave it to the rookie who hasn't had the benefit of knowing that if they do not have a way of picking them up mechanically, then tey do not get picked up.

    I am just trying to give you a picture of what happened up to today to bring about him quitting.

    Anyway, he decides not to go back. They put his life in danger with their shoddy safety practices, they make him pick up these very heavy barrels full of hazardous chemicals without the benefit of mechanical help, and they make him drive illegal hours. So, he decides that since they have been so lacking in safety measures he will just go in this afternoon and pick up his check and tell them he was going to work somewhere else. He wanted to go in and tell them in person, without the benefit of anger or anything like it. He just didn't want to talk to them on the phone before he spoke to them in person.

    I went with him on the bus so that we could do a little shopping afterwards. The owners son comes out of the office and asks him to come back into the office. He had a look on his face that said he was very angry and possibly going to do something about it. Before we went into the office we had gone to where the workers mail boxes are to pick up his check. It wasn't there. I just figured Ken would talk to the man and he would be out. When they came out Ken wasn't happy, and the man had a very angry expression. He said he was going to look for his himself, since he had been the one, supposedly, to put the checks out there. About 10 minutes later one of the office people calls him on his cell phone, after going out there to find him, and we hear snippits of conversation. We hear that the man is having problems WANTING to find the check. The person on the phone in the office says out loud that he was just out there and he didn't see him, and earlier, when I was by myself in the outside office this same person kept looing at me as if he knew that there was soemthing going down.

    The man finally comes back and tells us he cannot find the check, to come back at 8:00am on Monday morning, when he knows that Ken has accepted a job somewhere else. Ken then tells him that this seems like retribution for quitting and what are the state labor laws concerning this. The man gets very red in the face and then asks us if we are threatening him. Then he tells us to get off his property and not to come back until 8:00am Monday morning. Ken, being angry about the situation forgets that he told the man he is going somewhere else. I immediately catch on and I know that he is hoping to mess Ken up on his new job.

    Anyway, what ARE the State Laws regarding the holding of the paycheck when it is due because of the employee quitting? When the check was missing I knew what was going to happen. Earlier tonight, when Ken and I were discussing the issue, Ken tells me that the man will get away with it because in order to win the case, you cannot cash the check that is finally given to you. I find this reprehensible. I have multiple health problems which involve many medications and our rent is due tomorrow. How does the normal working person take these people to task if we cannot NOT cash the check?? Please help us find out what to do. We now know why the company cannot keep drivers, and how they get away with their power trip of not paying their former employees when they quit.

    But, how can we take them to court and prosecute them, keep them from running their driver illegally, not having proper safety precautions for their drivers, not having continous safety equipment in their drivers trucks, and not paying their drivers on time when they get taken to the carpet for not doing these things???

    Would appreciate help with this. I know that because this happened on a Friday that we cannot do anything until Monday, when the check is supposed to be issued, but they have still broken the law.

    Thank you anyone that is able to help.

    Penny
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