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I was just trying to do my job...now I feel threatened.

valentinivalentini Posts: 6Registered User New Member
edited January 2011 in Parent Cafe
Hi all...I'm new to CC and I was hoping maybe some of you parents can help me out. My parents are international and don't speak much English and not familiar with laws...plus I rather not tell them this until everything is situated or else they would freak out and never allow me to work again until I graduate.

I apologize this is so long...but I need help and feel threatened and don't know what to do.

Over winter break, which started 12/20, I was told about a part time "gig" from a friend who found it on Craigslist. She worked lots of stuff from Craigslist over the summer and I trust it to an extent, so I decided to give it a try. I send an email to the person who posted and got more information about the job...it was an independent contracting job that just required me to walk around in neighborhoods and put door hangers on homes (unless they had no soliciting signs). Easy enough, so I decided to go for it and worked on 12/22. Not much pay...but it was a nice amount for easy work and would come in handy whenever I get paid.

The guy in charge asked if I was familiar with the area we were hanging the hangers in and I said yes...and he asked me if I would be willing to act as a "supervisor" of sorts. All I would need to do is delegate which worker went into which neighborhood, make sure they took a GPS tracking device (which is how the company keeps track of the workers making sure they did their job) and collect the paperwork from all the workers (W9 and Contract Agreement). There were only 5 workers total the first day...two of them were related. They signed the contract and did a nearby neighborhood together. One of the terms of the contract was to return the GPS device to the "base" station where we all met up at the start of the day. While was working my neighborhood...my cell phone was in my backpack with door hangers and I didn't hear it ring since it was windy outside. The two related workers finished hours before myself and the other two workers, and tried getting in touch with me while I was working but I did not hear their call. They left with the GPSes. Since that work day, I have been making calls to the one who took both of the GPSes trying to get it back, but to no avail. He says he has no car, so I cave finally and drive to the next city over to his home when he says he's available. The days I go, I call when I am nearby and he is not there or "just left his house".

I continue calling this guy, just saying I don't want any trouble, just want the GPS back so everyone who worked can get paid. All the equipment must be sent back to the company's headquarters, along with the contracts. The contract states that if a contractor does not return the GPS, which is company property, they may be charged $200 and/or the proper authorities will be contacted to get the property.

After another week of getting the runaround from this guy, and leaving messages but getting no returned calls...I call the other person related to him. I say that her name is put down for one of the GPSes, so she is held responsible, and since they are related I figure she may be able to contact the first guy easier than I can. I tell her what I told the first guy...they are their responsibility, they signed the contract, they can be held accountable and may be charged or authorities may be contacted.

She seemed to cooperate...until I got another phone call today. It was a woman (calling from a cell phone) saying she was with the Police in their city and also related to the two who worked with me. I do not believe she is with the Police Department. She begins to raise her voice and yell at me over the phone very aggressively...asking me questions like it is the third degree...all which i answer calmly. She asks questions like "Why don't YOU drive out here to pick them up?" "Why is it their problem you don't have the GPS?" "It's been three weeks, why have they not been paid? Are you willing to pay them out of your pocket?". She is yelling at me VERY loudly, accusing me of being in the wrong. I try explaining to her that they signed the contract which states everything (obviously they didn't read) but she will not listen to me. She hangs up on me after a long time yelling, so I call her back to try to explain again how I just want the GPS, no trouble. She does not even believe that I have driven to their city to try and get the property. She still does not listen to me and threatens to call the police for harassment, and says that they are just going to keep the GPS devices.

I called the company in charge and have been calling them since the whole ordeal began. They just told me to continue trying to meet up with the workers, and just get the GPS devices so everyone could get paid. After today...I am unsure what to do. I certainly am not going to drive to see these two after that phone call...I feel VERY threatened. I do not feel safe seeing either of them. I also feel like I was being harassed by all the yelling and accusing.

Can they really call the police on me for harassing them? I am just trying to do my job so myself and the two other workers can get paid. These two problem workers are not likely to get paid due to violating the contract. Is there any action I can take against them? I don't know who the proper authorities are to get the GPS devices are...but the company should tell me soon who to contact. But is there anyone I can contact because of their anger and aggression toward me? And lying about being a police officer? Any advice on what should I do?

Again sorry this is so long. I certainly am not taking any more jobs from Craigslist just because some extra money would be helpful. I learned my lesson!
Post edited by valentini on

Replies to: I was just trying to do my job...now I feel threatened.

  • anothermom2anothermom2 Posts: 1,642Registered User Senior Member
    Your last sentence kind of sums it up. Although I can think of things I might try, I hesitate to suggest them, because it might make the situation worse. If someone is with the "police", ask for a badge # for id - from what you say, she is out of line and was harassing with her own actions. If you have the addresses (from w9 forms) perhaps the owner of the company can sent certified letters regarding the return of the GPS equipment. Keeping the equipment might be criminal in and of itself. ALL Caveats here - this is not legal advice, I have no idea what jurisdiction you are in, or what the contracts say etc. etc. etc. Keep notes of everything for yourself.
  • valentinivalentini Posts: 6Registered User New Member
    Thank you very much for your advice. This all happened to me today and I thought I might be able to get advice from someone else's parents in this forum since my own would probably not quite understand the situation.

    I am mostly afraid that I was going to have to visit the two workers to get the GPS but I will see if something like what you suggested can work so I do not have to make any contact with them...especially because the woman working with the "police" ordered me to be the one to go to their house...doesn't seem safe to me.

    Thanks so much for your advice again.
  • anothermom2anothermom2 Posts: 1,642Registered User Senior Member
    I had one other idea, perhaps the company owner can send a prepaid airbill from fed ex or ups or the like so that they can send the GPS back (free of charge to them, and insured). Then if they don't send back...
  • BIGeastBEASTBIGeastBEAST Posts: 1,545- Senior Member
    I'd just tell your boss that the family is becoming hostile and there isn't anything more you can do, without feeling like you are putting yourself in a bad situation.

    Your boss can decide on what to do next, that's why he is the boss.

    I'd just withhold the persons paycheck. However, your boss cannot withhold YOUR paycheck!

    Also, if this person isn't a cop, what they did is criminal. Impersonating a cop is illegal, and this situation fits the intentional requirements.

    For example, if some guy was drunk at a bar and told someone he was a cop (maybe a girl to impress her), it's not criminal impersonation, but if you do it to receive some sort of gain (like intimidating a person so you don't have to return a GPS) it would be considered impersonation.

    Do you have the phone number the woman called you on? If things continue to get worse, I'd call the local police department, provide that telephone number that she called you from and the name/address of the family members.

    They will be able to figure out if this person is actually a cop or not....they are cops, that's what they do!
  • milkandsugarmilkandsugar Posts: 2,869Registered User Senior Member
    First of all, I would not go meet them in any city. I would contact the company and tell them that you can no longer go after them because they are threatening you. They will not got paid and that is not your problem. I would put in writing just what you wrote here on cc explaining your best efforts to retrieve the GPS's and send to the company. It doesn't seem that you signed a contract being responsible for their GPS's. If the contracted workers call you about not getting paid, refer them to the company and explain nothing more to them. You don't really know who you are speaking with. I would not go to anyones house alone. If you feel you must go, see if the police can escort you. But honestly, I would let the company handle it and not go at all. If you have to lose a few dollars over this, I wouldn't hesitate.
    That is what I would tell my daughter.
  • walkinghomewalkinghome Posts: 7,006Registered User Senior Member
    One thing I would do is to write down everything in detail with dates and times that has transpired in case you need to tell someone at the company or (hopefully not) someone in authority at a later date. It's easy to forget details if you don't write them down.

    I would also suggest that you don't beat yourself up too much about this and focus on just getting yourself and the other person paid. Getting the GPS from people that you didn't hire and have no connection to, is above and beyond what you should be responsible for.

    cross posted with milkandsugar.
  • sk8rmomsk8rmom Posts: 5,746Registered User Senior Member
    You were only supposed to make sure each person took the GPS devices, right? I think you've already gone way beyond the call of duty and should just leave it up to the guy who hired you to resolve. I'm sure it's not the first time they've encountered this situation. Btw, impersonating a police officer is a crime...I'd pass that woman's number along to the local authorities.
  • valentinivalentini Posts: 6Registered User New Member
    Hi guys thank you all for your responses!

    I spoke with the boss in charge of the project we did...and I told him about the impersonation of a police officer situation and how they threatened to call the cops on me. Like all you have suggested, he told me I did not need to pursue the matter any longer except for mailing their contracts...which I have not done since I did not have their GPS. That was why I was involved.

    The woman who pretended to be an officer is one of the workers' wife. When the boss called and spoke with her, she was even more hostile with him, and stated she would sue if they did not get their money. She should not be involved in this matter...she didn't even work! If she continues to verbally harass the guy in charge, just like she was being aggressive toward me...do you think we would be in the right calling the local police? I want them to cooperate so I can get the final portion of my pay. The other guys and me have gotten paid for hanging the doorhangers, but I also had a small portion of pay for being the one delegating the work and my reimbursement for gas/mileage and mailing things. It's not alot of money...but it's still something! So would we be right calling the police...I'll also mention the police impersonation? I have her phone number and address, but only her last name.

    Anyway thank you all for your suggestions. They are VERY greatly appreciated.
  • sk8rmomsk8rmom Posts: 5,746Registered User Senior Member
    You reimbursement for expenses should not depend on whether they get their units back, and neither should your supervisory pay. Did he say that's what they're doing or do they just process expense checks on a different cycle? If the company is witholding money from you after your boss told you to stop pursuing it, call your state Dept of Labor. They will deal with the pay issue (and, btw, I don't see how/why you were classified as a contractor based on what you've posted). You should probably let the company worry about filing charges on the theft of property.
  • valentinivalentini Posts: 6Registered User New Member
    The reason my supervisor pay is dependent on their pay is because I get paid an extra $2 per stack of door hangers that they hung on doors...but the company cannot find out how many door hanger stacks they did without their GPS. The GPS tracks the houses/area they actually went to. This is all assuming that these people actually did their job...i can't tell since they seem to be sketchy and dishonest. Besides I, personally, would be fine if they just gave me the check without the info/little bit of extra money from the problematic people...

    The reimbursement is just getting combined with the supervisor part of the pay. The door hanger part of the pay was processed before the mileage/gas reimbursement expenses were.

    I confirmed that I got paid about an additional $20 each from the other two workers who actually did their job...plus the $30 I made on my own. Plus another $10 for gas. Although $60 is a good amount of money for one day of easy work...it's sooo not worth the trouble now!

    sk8rmom...should I not have been a contractor? Initially, my only jobs were to hang doorhangers, make sure people filled out their contracts then mail them back, and give people directions on where to go. The company is not located in my state...I have only had email/snail mail/phone contact with them.
  • sk8rmomsk8rmom Posts: 5,746Registered User Senior Member
    I don't work for the DoL and there are whole sets of rules on classifications of employees. I do work as an independent contractor and it does not sound like that job fits the criteria in my state, but I know that many companies do this to avoid paying employment taxes and carrying the required insurances, etc. Don't worry about it. At this point, I'd forget about the $2 bonuses on the deadbeats...and everything else to do with that day! As you said, it was decent pay for an easy day and anything else you get from them is just gravy.
  • Lafalum84Lafalum84 Posts: 7,535Registered User Senior Member
    If you've gotten most of your pay, I'd say walk away. It's not worth your hassle to pursue it to get the rest of the money. I don't think collecting this device is your job anyway. Chalk it up to a lesson learned.

    If the company wants their device back, let them pursue the other worker and his wacky wife. Why is this couple so resistant to turning in the device anyway? I'm willing to bet it if was worth any money they sold it. People who impersonate police officers are probably not terribly ethical and may have already had other run-ins with the law.

    Take the money you have and walk away. It's not worth it.
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