Sunday, November 16, 2008
ESI or SOL?
This is the story of the last time my employer, ESI, will screw me over.
On the 5th of November I had a vacation planned, which I had requested the time off for three months prior. Before I left, on the evening of the 4th, I faxed all of my paperwork to Tim. I sent it to him instead of Steve because I had been informed (by both Steve and Tim) earlier that day that Steve was no longer working for ESI. Included in the paperwork that I sent over was a reimbursement request for the remainder of money I had put out for the month of October and not yet been paid back for. It also included my monthly allowances for the month of November.
The Monday after I came home from vacation, November 10, I talked to Tim on the phone. I asked him if my check had been sent out and he said, "yes, that check has already been sent out."
On Tuesday I got a call from Tim telling me that Steve had been writing checks from the company account after he had resigned. He said he had dated the checks before he resigned, but that he "could tell what day they were actually written." I asked him how he could tell something like that and he said it was because of the day the funds came out of his account. Everybody knows that when you write a check it doesn't come out of your acount the very same day! He then told me he had to close the account so no more checks would go through. I asked him about the check that he had "sent" me, and if it was going to bounce. He said "it isn't going to bounce; we don't bounce checks. It is only going to come back as account closed." So I then asked him about the direct deposit that was scheduled for Friday morning, November 14. That was supposed to be my wages for the two weeks from October 25 to November 7. I had 30 hours from the first week and 17.75 from the second. I get a 30 hour minimum per week, but I was on vacation for half of the second week.
Tim assured me that everyone would still get paid, but that he was going to have to open a new account and then he would send everybody their checks. He also said he would resend my reimburesement check "later." Keep in mind it has now been two weeks since I requested reimbursement.
I got a call from Phil, one of the Illinois employees, later that night who told me he heard the account was closed but Tim had written him a check out of it that afternoon. He couldn't have opened a new account that day because it was Veterans Day and banks were closed. Either he was lying to me about having closed the account or he knowingly gave Phil a bad check.
The next day, Wednesday, I got a call from Tim saying there was some paperwork Connie needed me to resend. Connie, Tim's secretary, also called requesting a couple of work orders and an invoice record Steve had passed along to me when he left the company. Thursday afternoon Tim called me asking me why I hadn't sent Connie that paperwork. Meanwhile the reimbursement check he had "already sent out" NEVER arrived and I was given no timeline for when I would be receiving the money from the direct deposit that wasn't going to happen. Subtracting out the November allowances (because obviously I do not want to keep working for such a crooked company) and any gas money I spent the first few days of November, ESI owes me 1232.56. When Tim asked me where the paperwork was I asked him when he would be sending out a check. He said he would pay me, with no difinitive answer as to when. I then told him I couldn't do any more work for him, paperwork included, until I had been paid what I was already owed. I also told him that unfortunately I couldn't just take him at his word that he would pay what he owes me and do more work because he had already lied to me about sending the reimbursement check. He then denied ever saying he had sent that out, then a few minutes later changed his story to "I wasn't the one who sent it, but to my knowledge it had been sent out."
He then told me that if I "wanted to play hard ball like Steve" and not do any more paperwork for him he wasn't going to send my check at all. I told him that if he was going to make that choice I would have to go to the Labor Board. He said he didn't care and wouldn't send me a dime until I sent all the paperwork he needed and hung up. He called back ten minutes later with an offer to send me the wages I was owed, but not the reimbursements "as a compromise." I told him I wasn't willing to compromise on the amount that was due to me and I wasn't doing his paperwork until I had received my payment in full. He argued a bit and finally agreed that if I faxed over my time sheets he would overnight me the full amount, and I agreed that when I received those funds I would forward on the paperwork he wants.
The next morning, Friday, Tim called me questioning some of the office hours on my time sheet from the week I had 30 hours. He said he wasn't paying me those hours unless I could prove that I worked all of them. I explained to him that I was entitled to a 30 hour minimum for that week and the office hours were tasks given to me by Steve, my supervisor at the time, to fill up the 30 hours so I wouldn't be paid to do nothing. I told him if he didn't believe those office hours were justified that was fine, but that he still had to pay me the same amount because of my 30 hour minimum agreement. He said, "Ok fine!" and hung up. It is now Sunday and I still haven't received the check. Connie told Steve yesterday that she put the check in an envelope and left it on Tim's desk when she left the office Friday afternoon.