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More Problems in California

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  • More Problems in California

    Okay, so I have another question in regard to my problem employers today. I have to provide a little background here, though. My job is with a mattress retailer; it is a family owned business, the owners are Argentinian, and the vice president and office manager is the daughter of the owner. My son, Robert, also works there, as a delivery driver. A couple of days ago, he was involved in a slight accident with his truck -- he was backing up, and a woman who was tailgating him and in his blind spot wound up getting backed into. Both she and my son agreed that there was no major damage, no one was hurt, and that she didn't want to deal with the hassle of reporting it to her insurance company, so they should just go on about their business. My son agreed. Mistake #1. When he came in that evening, he told me about it, and said that it was a minor incident and she didn't seem interested in reporting it. I said, 'Well, you never know, she may change her mind and decide that she has whiplash or something. Better tell Andy (our operations manager)." And I went on about my business.

    The next day, I came in to work, and Geri (the vice president/office manger/owner's daughter) jumps square in the middle of me because the first call she got that morning was from our insurance company -- the woman who had said the accident was no big deal had filed a claim against the company. Geri was livid, and asked me why I hadn't reported it. Being as I assumed that my son had reported it to the operations manager, I quite honestly hadn't thought about it... I have a great deal of work to do everyday, which includes a lot of Geri's work, the operation manager's work, and my own, so I just simply didn't remember to tell Andy (the operations manager). Geri reamed me out verbally in front of everyone standing near, which was unprofessional enough, but then later on, she came along with a write-up for me, and told me that she felt that Robert and I were in collusion to just sweep the accident under the rug. This absolutely infuriated me, because I had no such thought. I have never been anything but honset with them, and for HER to accuse ME of being dishonest is like the pot calling the kettle black.

    At any rate, this was on Wednesday, and the operations manager was off that day. I was ill on Thursday, Friday was my regular day off, and when I came back to work today, I chose to take the problem up with Andy, whom I generally have a good relationship with. I told him that because of the incident, I didn't want any of the drivers to report this kind of thing to me any more, thus trying to avoid the appearance of evil, and that I was very upset with the fact that I had been written up for what had been an oversight, and that I had specifically told Robert to report the accident to him. He suddenly became very angry and said I deserved the write up and more because it was my responsibilty to report the accident and Geri had called him up and screamed at him over it, and he had been in the dark about it. His attitude got extremely nasty and he told me to shut up, that I had an attitude problem (this in front of the other office staff member) and that if I felt that I was being so unfairly treated that I should just go home. I was shocked because I was only trying to explain that I felt that Geri had overreacted, and that I had never given them any reason to believe I was dishonest in any way with them. He said that he was going out to have a cigarette and when he came back that my attitude had better have changed, or I could jut go home. Well, that's exactly what I did. I simply refuse to be treated in such an unprofessional and viscious manner by someone because I was trying to express an opinion about something I felt was unfair.

    The problem is, I think that they are probably going to take this out on my son. They ride him constantly, and he's been written up for at least twice for things that are not his fault... such as having to replace the transmission in his truck, which was admittedly driven into the ground by the two drivers before him. The problem is that he is NOT Hispanic. Before they hired him, even though he had put in his application before anyone else at my urging, they hired three other drivers, all Hispanic. The first one came and worked one day and quit, the second didn't bother to show up at all, and the third one was terminated after threatening a customer with his gang affiliations. I was told point blank by the operations manager that white guys never lasted more than a couple of months on the job because they 'thought' too much. In other words, they wonder about things like why they don't get double time or at least time and a half for holidays, which we are all had to work, and usually extra hours because the stores were open longer. Robert has worked there for nearly a year now, and they load him down with ten deliveries a day, while the other driver, who is also our warehouse manager is coddled and catered to constantly. His every frown causes them to tremble in fear. I don't think he is even a legal alien... he allegedly got his driver's license in Oregon (and by that, I don't mean that the state if Oregon issued it to him), and I don't think that either of the two helpers that we have are legal, either... even though they both have social security numbers. A few weeks ago, Robert was written up because his helper, Eduardo, stormed off the job because they were running behind and he didn't want to work overtime (Eduardo has an extremely jealous wife, and when he is late getting home, she thinks he is put with another woman. He comes to work all scratched up frequently.) Somehow, that became Robert's fault, and he was written up for 'carelessness, insubordination, among other things. So I am afraid that they are going to wind up firing him, too, and both of us will be out of a job.

    I am sure that it is illegal for them to fire him because they're angry at me, but I'm also sure they'll make it sound like they're doing it because of some alleged trespass of his, maybe even the incident with the truck accident. If they do, will we have any recourse for it?

    I'm sorry, I know this was a long story, but I had to give some background info on the situation. You may be asking why we have put up with this kind of crap for so long... for me, the answer is simple. My age. It is very difficult for someone of my age to find work, and I have numerous health problems. I am diabetic, I have high blood pressure, and a bad back as well. And the job is close to my home. My last job in the mainstream job market was a victim of the mass transit strike we had here in Los Angeles in 2005, and now I'm afraid to take a job that requires using the bus anywhere.

    This has been a lousy day, and I may regret letting my temper get the best of me if I can't find another job soon...

  • #2
    Actually, it's not illegal of them to fire your son because they are angry with you. I'm not going to tell you it's the way a professionally run company behaves, but it doesn't violate any laws.

    And I'm sorry, but if it was your responsibility to report the accident, then writing you up for the oversight is not unreasonable either, whether Geri overreacted or not.

    Again, it sounds as if you are working for a badly managed company, but I'm not seeing anything that gives you legal recourse.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


    • #3
      Thanks for your reply, CBG. I didn't think that there was any recourse for this problem, but fortunately, we're not going to have to deal with it after all because when I called work yesterday (my day off) to talk about when I should come by to pick up my personal belongings, Andy told me that he would just consider that I had gone home because I was still feeling unwell. Whew! What a relief! I don't usually let my temper get the best of me, but I absolutely will not stand for people calling me dishonest. I can understand that Geri was annoyed over the fact that I had not informed Andy that Robert had had the accident, and I was not really all that upset over the write up... what I WAS angry over was her insinuation that Robert and I were conspiring to sweep the accident under the rug. I NEVER considered doing any such thing, I even told Robert to report it to Andy simply because the woman might suddenly decide that she had whiplash or something. I was not being dishonest with them, and I thoroughly resent being accused of that.

      At any rate, I still have the job, but hopefully, I can find another where my employer is not a jacka$$ soon.


      • #4
        Glad it worked out for you. Good luck finding other employment; sounds as if you're in a tough spot where you are.
        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


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