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Board Certified Attorney Arcadier
Board Certified Attorney Arcadier, Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 1106
Experience:  Employment Law questions answered. Unpaid Wages, Overtime, Discrimination, Harassment, and many more employment related issues.
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We are truckers. Martin Blecha and Paul Batey. We drive DOD

Resolved Question:

We are truckers. Martin Blecha and Paul Batey. We drive DOD loads, mostly explosives, which require two drivers be in the truck. We are team drivers, we have driven together for 12 years. We work for a company called SLT in Glendale, Arizona. This company treats drivers like slaves. Two years ago, our Driver Manager (DM) authorized us for home time six weeks ahead of the need date. We only got home on time about 10% of the time for hometime, but I made it clear to her that my medical card was about to expire. I explained that I had an appointment with my cardiologist and needed a stress test before I could be renewed (DOT requirement every two years). I told her that was vacation time and if I didn't get home on time it might be up to three months before I could get all my ducks in a row again. Five days late. And they had the nerve to fight unemployment because I had "quit". It did take 90 days to get back on the road. And we had to give up our seniority when we came back... Six months later, my co-driver developed a stomach problem. He was throwing up two or three times a day. We made an appointment with a gastroenterologist (difficult appointment to get) and got our hometime for that date approved. Four days late. The doctor found several problems, and said she'd need several appointments so we didn't even bother going back to work, we found another employer for 90 days and when the stomach problem was resolved, we contacted SLT (hey, they're jerks, but they pay well). We asked for time to do one more (expensive) run for our new employer, but the recruiting manager said he wanted us back right away so we could go on a list for one of the new trucks. When we got back, we were told that we'd be temporarily driving a truck owned by another SLT employee, which we did. We went through the same orientation as we had the previous two times, filled out the same paperwork, and signed NO contracts which changed the status or nature of our employment. Three months later, when I tried to apply for company insurance, we were told we were now "contract employees" and were not eligible. Hey, I know what that is, and there were no contracts involved. Additionally, the company refused to give us settlement statements (something like check stubs) since our rehire date (July 30), so we really have no idea what we were being paid for, what our pay rate was/is... On Dec. 15, we drove into the Phoenix yard and the employee (orientation manager) said there were holes in the muffler which made it undriveable (news to us, not on our daily pretrip), and made us leave the truck there. We figured it would be awhile. We applied for unemployment, we were told that SLT told the unemployment people once again that we quit, and we received word that the truck was finally ready to roll (four weeks?) and that we needed to be back in Arizona the next day to return to work. We obviously didn't quit, or they wouldn't be wanting us back the second the truck was fixed.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Board Certified Attorney Arcadier replied 2 years ago.

Board Certified Attorney : Well, you are certainly entitled to unemployment benefits. Have benefits been denied?
Customer:

yes. Reason: We quit. We couldn't have quit when the reason for our not being on the road was/is that the truck is broken and was not fixed for the three weeks for which we claimed unemployment. This is the same reason we were denied when we couldn't drive because they let my health certificate expire while we were we'reon the road. While we were off, my co-driver, following instructions from the unemployment people, searched for new employment, which he found and starts his new job on Monday. Now that the truck is fixed, they're asking us to come back and return to work. Paul can't because he has a new job, I can't because a co-driver is required for driving for SLT, and Paul is my co-driver and the only one I'd find acceptable.

Board Certified Attorney :

Are you still within the time frame to appeal the UC decision?

Customer:

yes

Customer:

they haven't made a decision yet, they have only informed me what SLT said when they found out that we had filed for unemployment, reason for declining: we quit. But that's the same reason they used when they let my health certificate expire while we were on the road, and they prevailed in the appeal, after switching stories three times.

Board Certified Attorney :

Ok. Your position is that you did not quit, that you were constructively discharged due to your employer not providing a job for four weeks.

Customer:

yes. exactly.

Customer:

which was also our position last time, we were available for work but the company was not legally entitled to give us work because I had no health certificate.

Customer:

so they said we quit.

Board Certified Attorney :

This is different; the constructive discharged must be based on an act of the employer. Having no health certificate is not an act of the employer. However, not giving you work for four weeks is an act of the employer.

Customer:

okay. at this point, who is my employer? The owner of the truck says he is, but we have no contract with him and did not apply for a job with him.

Board Certified Attorney :

99% of employees are not under a written contract. Under the law, you can have multiple employers. An employer that pays you and an employer that tells you what to do. Your position is that everyone was your employer.

Customer:

alright, I can use that as the answer to the denial by my employer. I appreciate your time. This is a satisfactory answer.

Board Certified Attorney :

Best wishes.

Board Certified Attorney Arcadier, Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 1106
Experience: Employment Law questions answered. Unpaid Wages, Overtime, Discrimination, Harassment, and many more employment related issues.
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