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Marsha411JD
Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20228
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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In Louisiana with a company based in Texas: A courier

Customer Question

In Louisiana with a company based in Texas:
A courier company that states i'm an independent contractor, but it may be proven that I'm an employee.
I claimed accountability on a speeding violation from a camera while driving a company vehicle. I have until the end of this month to pay the fine, but my dispatcher called me up and stating I need to pay the ticket asap because they can't call me on jobs until fine is paid. The explanation for not being given jobs was, "because of insurance," from the secretary to the dispatcher.
I stated to dispatcher that I need my paycheck before I pay the fine.
Dispatcher's response is she is holding my paycheck until fine is paid.
I state to dispatcher, protesting, that withholding my pay isn't acceptable. I also state that paying the ticket will take additional time because of her decision to withhold pay. Her response was, "are you telling me I'm wrong?" which resulted in her stating that she will never call me for a run ever again.
This conversation took place on a Wednesday, the pay period ended the previous Sunday at midnight. It's been 17 days since the pay has been held.
That same Wednesday, I received a text message from dispatcher stating that I am no longer going to be a part of a team to expand the company. I was going to be in charge of this expansion and I expected to get around 60k a year with my own city to dispatch.
So I have a few questions:
1. Can an insurance company tell their client that client absolutely cannot allow client's employee to work until they pay a traffic fine early?
2. Does this appear to be a violation of law?
3. If this appears to be a violation of law, then can it be, with high certainty, a case where loss of income due to an illegal act? Or Is this just an unpaid job case?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.

Hello,

Thank you for the information and your question. An insurance company does not generally direct companies on individual driving issues. However, they will tell the company under what conditions they will cover an accident should a worker be involved in an accident. So, they set the coverage rules. In this case, it would be very unusual for there not to be coverage for a driver just because they have a ticket, unless the ticket is past due being paid to the issuing government and the State has suspended their DL. I cannot though second guess what your company is telling you since it is their contract with the insurance company and the insurance company could (but again not likely) have a coverage rule in their policy concerning tickets. I suspect though that this is the company being extra conservative and cautious for some reason unknown to me. They always have a right to not schedule a worker unless it violates a contract.

That said, unless there is something in your contract with them that allows them to withhold your pay in this exact circumstance, then withholding is actionable (meaning you can sue). You can try to file a wage claim with the State but it may take a while since they would have to first determine you are a statutory employee. Or, you can file suit in small claims court for the amount owed.

Please let me know if you need any clarification.

Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

I wanted to touch base with you and make sure that you did not have any follow up questions for me from the answer I provided to you on the 25th. For some unknown reason, the Experts are not always getting replies or ratings (at the top of the question/answer page you are viewing or in the pop up box for this question), which is how we get credit(paid) for our work, that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I received neither. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating, please let me know so that I can inform the Site administrator. Please note that Site use works best while using a computer and using either Google Chrome or Firefox.

In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue, if needed. You can bookmark my page at: http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-marsha411jd/

Thank you.