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Termination Due To Arrest Michigan

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  • Termination Due To Arrest Michigan

    This is not for me. This is for my fiance. He was terminated. And it's going to be pretty long.

    First of all, we live in NW Ohio but his company was based out of SE Michigan. But the shop he worked out of was Ohio.

    He gained employment through this employer by replying to an ad on Craigslist and was immediately hired. The job was for a class B CDL driver. The company does have class A trucks but he was specifically hired for the dump truck. My fiance has never had any intent to get his class A and says even if he did, he wouldn't work for this company.

    Almost immediately though this boss was hounding my fiance about obtaining his class A. He agreed he would attempt it and had been studying. The boss even went so far as to humiliate my fiance at a company meeting with all the other company drivers, telling them all to call him a p*ssy until he goes and gets his class A CDL. Then towards the end of my fiance's employment, he had told him if he didn't get his class A CDL by December 1st, that his truck would be parked and he would have a shovel in his hand working in the stone yard. He said he doesn't fire or lay off employees nor does he pay unemployment but he'll make it so unbearable that he'll quit on his own. Nice boss, huh? For the record today is December 10th and as of last Friday, the 7th, the truck is STILL on the road!!

    From what my fiance has been told by other employees is that no dump truck driver has returned after the season. And there is only ONE dump truck in the company.

    When he was hired in, he signed a piece of paper saying that for the first 30 days, he could be terminated at any time. That is all he remembers of this paper. But I assume it goes with the "at will" employment. He worked there from May 2012 until October 2012.

    In June, we had a misunderstanding and the police were called to "keep the peace" only. Unfortunately they ended up filing charges on my behalf, none of which either of us knew about. My fiance is a person who will take care of anything immediately, especially if there would be a warrant for his arrest. In October (2 days before his arrest), he received a phone call from his boss with an extremely nasty voicemail message stating that if he didn't have his class A CDL by the end of THAT week, there would be trouble. To date, we still have the voicemail saved on my fiance's phone with a date and time stamp and the phone number it came from.

    October 17, 2012 all hell broke lose. I was at my job and my fiance was at his. I got a frantic phone call from our son's babysitter that my fiance was being arrested in a DV sweep. We were COMPLETELY blind sighted by this! I left my job immediately to find out what it was about and what, if anything, I could do. I found out from one of the arresting officers and when my fiance called me from jail, I was informed that my fiance was terminated right there on the spot. Just a snap fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants decision.

    My fiance was arrested and released the next day. I was in court and due to the misunderstanding, he didn't need to post bond and the charges are NOW <thankfully> dismissed! He had spent a total of approx 15 hours away from the job in jail. As soon as he returned home, he called his boss but he stated that he was still terminated. My fiance was willing and able to return to work by 3pm the day he was released.

    2 days after his arrest was Friday, payday. First, my fiance went to the yard and cleaned out his personal possessions from the truck, when one of the mechanics was driving it that day. Rob had spoke briefly to the guy, of which that employee apologized to Rob about what happened, etc. An hour later he received a phone call from this boss (who can you tell by now is an utter and complete jerk?!) claiming that this employee said that my fiance had threatened him (my fiance) and his legal troubles were "just starting and we're going to add to your rap sheet today." So to cover his butt, my fiance called and had a police escort go with him to pick up his paycheck. Right in front of THREE police officers, the boss' exact words were "I didn't fire you, YOU fired YOURSELF!" Ohhh and to cover the boss' butt, he had a friend who is an OFF DUTY COP IN ANOTHER JURISDICTION there, with my fiance's criminal record that he had pulled, without my fiance's consent (don't you have to sign to allow a criminal background check to be done, especially if it isn't OFFICIAL police business???)

    It has taken 6 weeks but my fiance is eligible for unemployment benefits, through the state of MICHIGAN, due to the company being based out of there. They found that he was not in violation of any company policy or caused harm in any way to the company or misconduct to their type of business.

    The problem is, unemployment even at the MAXIMUM benefit, is not even half of what he was taking home from this employer! The truck is STILL on the road so if the boss hadn't terminated him, he would be probably working and EARNING the money. Dump truck driving...for the most a seasonal job so no other company will hire at this time, not until the spring. Everyone who is working now in this field is already employed. Again, his truck is still running and he found out from places he hauls to that they DO operate ALL winter long, just at a slightly reduced rate.

    Trust me, my fiance would rather be out working instead of sitting on his butt collecting unemployment. And he probably would have obtained his class A CDL by now.

    We are wondering what recourse, if any, he possibly has. This has put a lot of stress on us, our family, our relationship, etc. He has been the main breadwinner for our family. We just feel that he was wronged in some sort of way by this employer. We do have a feeling the employer will appeal the unemployment but after speaking to a supervisor in unemployment, they said it is his burden to bear and his firing coincides with the date of his arrest, which does not affect his job or the company.

    We are not sue-happy people by any means. But we have 5 kids between the 2 of us. And we're falling on hard times now. We've never sued anyone in our lives.

    Please, any and all advice will be GREATLY appreciated. If we have no recourse, fine but if we do we just want to know.

    And if we do, what state would we consult an attorney in?

  • #2
    I'm not going to read your overly-long post, however the following applies to your fiance no matter what your post says.

    Unless your fiance was fired specifically and directly because of things like his race, age, gender, religion and/or disability, he has no legal recourse.


    • #3
      Prevailing in an unemployment claim does not mean that the termination was illegal. The vast majority of people collecting unemployment were terminated legally.

      Specifically, what do you believe the employer did that would give your fiance legal recourse? That would be the best place for us to start.
      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.


      • #4
        I can't believe I actually read the whole thing. But I see no case especially since he was awarded unemployment. I think you should be thankful for that. And getting unemployment does not mean that the employer did anything incorrectly or wrong or illegal. It just means that your fiance didn't do enough wrong to be excluded.

        Your fiance (and indirectly you) allowed his (and your) personal life (an altercation where police were called) to affect his job performance by not being able to come to work ("He had spent a total of approx 15 hours away from the job in jail."). The actual reason for the arrest had nothing to do with his job, but the fact that he missed worked due to it does.

        Your fiance also refuses to upgrade his skills in the industry that he has chosen ("My fiance has never had any intent to get his class A"). Any employer would rather have an employee that can drive ALL the equipment rather than just one truck. It's a career limiting move for your fiance to NOT pursue the better drivers license, regardless of what the employer wants.

        Hindsight is 20/20. There are a lot of "ifs" in your posting. The best thing you can do it look to the future rather than the past. Have your fiance work on his Class A now so that he is MORE employable when looking for a job.


        • #5
          Agree. The employer absolutely can fire him for being in jail for DV whether you pressed charges or not. The police do not show up everytime two people disagree with one another so I sincerely hope that with 5 kids between you and no legally binding status (namely marriage) that you get some counseling to deal with your disagreements and stress. It has already cost him one job and put a blight on his record. Arrests and convictions are public record so it was absolutely legal for his employer to look his up. If I found out I had an employee missing work because they were in jail I'd look up the details as well! It doesn't matter at all that the truck is still operating as that isn't the reason he was let go. Even if he was, it still doesn't entitle him to keep the job or get the job back. From the employer's perspectice they have a short term employee with limited skills who missed work because he was in jail for a violent act.

          Same for requiring an employee to get another license. It is completey legal to require the Class A and an employee who refuses to do so tells an employer a lot about that their motivation and willingness to work. Use this time to upgrade his skills. None of this would have stopped him from getting the Class A if he were motivated to do so. That is totally on him.

          No laws have been broken, nor did the employer act improperly. There is nothing to consult a lawyer about. The fact that unemployment benefits are not enough to support a family of 7 is not the fault of the employer. Benefits are set by the state and are based on earnings. It is not going to be the same as someone would be making if they were employed or there would be no motivation to go back to work.
          Last edited by ElleMD; 12-10-2012, 09:51 AM.
          I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.


          • #6
            Useless useless useless!

            Well thanks but no thanks all.

            Point being, how come I don't have a law degree but I have found this on SEVERAL different websites regarding Michigan law:

            Wrongful Termination on the Basis of Discrimination
            Michigan employers are not allowed to fire employees on the basis of discrimination against their age, race, sex, religion, height, weight, HIV/AIDS status, arrest record, marital status, nationality, handicap, disability, childbirth or pregnancy.
            Arrest: Employers are prohibited from requesting, making or maintaining records regarding a misdemeanor arrest, detention, or disposition that did not result in a conviction.. Employers may inquire about felony charges including those that have not resulted in a conviction or dismissal. Mich. Comp. Laws § 37.2205a.
            However, Ohio law states:
            Arrest: Employers cannot question an applicant about an expunged juvenile arrest record. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2151.358(I). Additionally, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission’s Pre- Employment Inquiry Guide cautions that employers should avoid any inquiry that would reveal an arrest without a conviction.
            Oral Promises: The state of Michigan will also consider whether your employer made any oral promises regarding your termination procedures. For example, if they told you that they would not fire you within the next six months, and you relied on this promise to your detriment, it may form the basis for wrongful termination. However, the oral promise exception is very difficult to prove and will be subject to rigorous analysis in court.
            Soooo for the fact that this boss says he NEVER fires anyone (that he will make things so unbearable so they quit) and doesn't lay people off or pay unemployment doesn't count for anything in this matter? There are LOTS of witnesses, including former employees, the officers who accompanied my fiance to get that check (when he said "I didn't fire you, YOU fired yourself") doesn't count for anything?

            I find all you lawyers quick to jump the gun on this situation. Look at actual facts and laws. I do my research.

            He also never signed anything stating he would get his class A. And I said it was something he never desired to do. But he was studying to do it. I guarantee though it would have not meant that he would have been making any more money on wages. He was paid 24% a ton, not an hourly rate and this went for both classes of drivers. So again, you all jumped the gun on what he was and wasn't willing to do.

            For the record, he has been driving a class B CDL for 10+ years and has never ever been asked or forced to get his class A CDL. Never. The only reason he left his last employer was because his boss had sold the company. He had worked for this guy for more than 2 years and made awesome money.

            I also printed out everything I quoted on here. We WILL be consulting attorneys starting tomorrow.

            But thanks for not looking at all the facts. It's pretty obvious all or most of you need to return to law school.


            • #7
              You're missing the point. He wasn't fired because of the arrest. He was fired for being unavailable for work, and also for not getting the class A license.

              Both of which are legal reasons to term him.
              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.


              • #8
                Feel free to pay a lawyer if you like. The statutes you cite refer to pre-hire, not firing someone for missing work as they were in jail. No law in any state requires an employer to overlook that. His history of an arrest should not be held against him as he seeks future employment but an arrest and time lost due to jail time is still a legal and valid reason to fire someone.

                Whether he would be paid more after getting the Class A or not is irrelevant. It is a legal request and reasonable expectation. His employer was well within his rights to require this and no law requires that he be paid more for having done it.

                There is also no law against stating you won't pay UI. The state decided who gets it, not the employer. If ordered, the state pays it out, not the employer. There is no way the employer can block someone who is qualified to receive benefits from doing so. Qualifying based on a voluntary quit is extremely difficult but it is still the state's decision entirely. If the state feels someone left for good reason for for a reason which does not disqualify you from getting benefits, then you get them. Period. The employer can appeal just as the denied applicant can appeal, but it is still up to the state.
                I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.


                • #9
                  I love it when people ask questions that they do not want an honest answer to. When they get an honest answer, They go off on the messenger. I can understand the reason for the domestic charge, as the OP is extremely argumentative and obtuse.


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