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Any Attorneys in here?

  1. If so, please read this and let me know how it should be handled.

    This is an issue with my 3rd son, and I want to start by saying that most times I don't "come to their rescue" if they get jammed up in some way, but this one really pisses me off.

    My son Jesse is deaf from birth and is 23 years old. He is a carpenter, and a very good one. He was working as a sub contractor on a job for a very large home builder in Johnson City Tn, and had had the job for about 6 months and was doing great. He even oversaw the jobsite while the boss was on leave dealing with a death in the family, and did great. Then a new guy from another area came to town to oversee the job.

    A few days after the guy shows up, Jesse face times me, and asks me for some advice. He said the new guy on the job, Nathan, is just a couple years older than him, and for some reason, took an immediate dislike to Jesse. He said he doesn't talk, he yells, and cusses. I had taught him a long time ago to advocate for himself where his deafness is concerned. I told him he needs to let people know how to communicate with him, that most people have never been around a deaf person, and just don't know. Jesse said after this overly forceful yelling and cussing had happened a couple times, he pulled the guy aside and told him that because of his deafness, expression, body language, and tone of voice (he can hear enough to tell when someone is pissed off) mean a lot, so if there was something that he wasn't doing, just explain to him in a calm manner, and he would do his best to accomodate. That was three weeks ago, and nothing has changed.

    Mid week last week, the yelling boss shows up, and starts yelling at Jesse about something that wasn't his job, kinda got in his face, and started picking up Jesse's tools to load in his truck because he was going to send him to another house. Jesse said "no, I'm not going to another house, and I am not staying at this house, I quit." He loaded up and went home.

    He is owed 21 hours of pay at $22.00 an hour, and they won't pay him. The yelling guy, Nathan, told the area supervisor that Jesse messed a bunch of **** up, and it should be taken out of his pay. Ironic that Jesse has been the one on this job from the start to go in and fix everyone else's **** ups, especilly where trim and doors are concerned.

    So what recourse does my son have?

    Does the ADA apply to sub contractors?

    From what I read, according to TN labor laws, they can't legally do what they did, even if he did **** something up, is that typically true?

    Like I said, I would usually let him deal with his issues, but this one really pisses me off. I have three deaf sons, and my best friend was deaf from the time I was about 10 until he was killed in a car wreck when I was 37, 20 years ago. It is hard to exist in a hearing world, and much harder when you got someone ****ing with you and messing with your life and livelihood.

    Thanks for any input.
  2. Have your son contact the TN Dept of Labor.
    There is no exemption under the law. Tenn. Code. Ann. § 50-2-103 (g)
    this concerns final paychecks.
    Have him add that the owner and temp. head at jobsite said disparaging things about his hearing “disability”.
  3. Yelling cussing guy would have an issue with my methods of addressing his problems.
  4. I'm not an attorney but I've watched a lot of TV.
    There's not enough money involved to interest a good attorney.
    Your taxes at work, take it to your Dept. of Labor.

  5. A buddy had a similar run in while working as a carpenter. He put a mechanic's lien on the home and the guy had to settle it before he could close on the house.
  6. Part time fix last job bs, full time go get another Job.

    There is plenty of that type of labor around right?
  7. He's already got another job.

    It's a trade where good craftsmen are always in high demand.
  8. Great, some trades are like that, you can tell the boss to F off and have a job the next day

    I worked with a deaf guy at my last job.......really good with his hands, smart on the computer stuff and got along great with all...........Bronco's fan though
  9. I had a conversation with our HR manager at work about this. Wage an hour violations are big business for ambulance chasing lawyers because employers have to pay legal fees. She said from a seminar she went to that Morgan & Morgan was involved in most of the cases that are settled every year.
  10. You will know if you get an answer from an actual attorney because it will have a bill charging you for their time attached.

  11. Small claims court...shame the hell out of them.
  12. What I post is not legal advice, but merely commentary. If your son got adverse treatment that was different than what happened with non-deaf employees, the EEOC might be interested. I believe one of their areas of particular interest is discrimination the basis of disability. I'd be sure to tell them that he was denied his final paycheck, too. Mind you, none of that would preclude him from talking to the TN DOL.
  13. His first complaint should be filed at the Labor Dept. in regards to money owed to him. Hopefully he has some way of being able to document hours worked and money owed. As far as his treatment regarding his so called "Disability" Based on what was said it sounds more like a personality issue. The fact that your son quit doesn't justify a lawsuit on his behalf. He will know immediately if there is any claim for a suit if a lawyer will take his case on a contingency basis. My concerns would be if your son feels he was discriminated against because of his hearing impairment and in the future if things don't always go his way he uses this as a means to file a suit(Not saying yes or no on the validity regarding his original complaint.)I too have a tendency to talk louder than normal when talking to a person who has a hearing impediment(deaf). It's natural to think talking louder or even yelling that the person will be able to understand what you are saying. Now in your sons case the guy was already mad at him so yelling and cursing by the guy seems natural(although not acceptable).Just my opinion.
  14. I am NOT an attorney, but I had an issue with a landscaper who hired my son and then did not pay.

    I visited the job site, (a future LaQuinta Inn) and explained the situation to the general contractors site foreman. Before I left, I made a special emphasis on questioning what county the job site was located, and where the county courthouse was located. I knew that the job could be shut down over a labor dispute, and I made sure that the GC was aware of my intentions if wages were not paid.

    Before I could get home, the owner of the construction company called me, and said that the situation would be taken care of within the hour. Then the landscaper called me and cussed me out for going above him, and refused to pay.

    So, another call to the owners cellphone and the landscaper delivered cash to me the next morning.

    Morale of the story.........Get the GC involved, and if that does not work, go to county building department and file a wage claim, and then the labor department. Keep track of your time and mileage to add to the claim.

    The GC will not risk having the project red-tagged over a 500.00 wage dispute.
  15. Was he working as an employee (W4) or a subcontractor (1099)?
  16. Labor Board is your best bet. As an employer, even when we were 100% in the right we would have to pay $5,000.

    If he was on a 1099, move on.
  17. It's the Internet! EVERYONE is an attorney!
  18. Beg to differ on that point. Perhaps not enough to go to court over, but often times a letter from an attorney to the company that cites state law, and ADA in this case, plus also outlines the potential costs for them to go to court and lists potential penalties that may be applied towards the settlement (triple damages?) will quite often result in an immediate payoff of back wages hoping that the problem will just go away.

    It is worth at least considering.

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  19. Shouldn’t have a bill attached since that would be considered an initial consultation. If some attorney was that desperate to bill even the initial contact, then you know that he/she is a bonafide ambulance chaser.

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  20. Or is it that many have had some experiences with wage claims and turd bosses? One of the strengths of having the internet is that you can ask for help or guidance and there are some in the community who have had to deal with similar situations.

    And for the record, ADA is federal law and the penalties for running afoul of their rules are not anything to sneeze at. The OP’s son sounds like he would have no problems as qualifying as a protected person under ADA.

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  21. It was a joke, man. Relax.
  22. Maybe, but you are going to pay for the letter. Aside from doing a favor for friends or family, at my normal hourly rate (when I billed hourly) that letter would eat most if not all the money owed, about $450.

    So far, nobody has even refused to pay as I read the OP. It’s just the loudmouth making a recommendation to the area manager. Before paying a lawyer, it’s probably worth contacting the area manager or whoever is actually in charge, explain what happened, and demand payment.

    There is no “initial consultations are free” rule. I’ve done 30 hours of free work to pitch a case, and I’ve charged standard hourly rates for a first meeting. Free initial consultations are not uncommon, but a lot of attorneys don’t do them. They don’t need to, and it gets rid of the tire kickers.

    ETA: On second read, it’s not so clear to me that they are or aren’t refusing to pay. The OP says they won’t pay, but it’s not clear if that’s coming from the company or assumed based on the loudmouth’s comments.
  23. "Look, you owe me for work well done. You owe me. Give me my check or Saul and I are going file a discrimination suit that will absolutely put you on the permanent side of pitiful poor!" Just pay me, that's how you win this one!"
  24. The only advice I saw on here that made any sense to to contact the Department of Labor in that state and make a report.

    Most of the rest of the stuff I saw on here made me smile quietly to myself. And I have spent most of my career as a government attorney, much of it in Labor, Employment, and Civil rights.

    Jesse didn't win the lottery, and you're not going to be able to shut down a project because of a paycheck. (Liens are another matter, and I won't go into that here.) Contact the state first. If that doesn't work, seek the advice of a private attorney that does labor law. Your local or state bar association can hook you up with one.
  25. Grandpa_e3efae_976974.gif

    Sorry, that's not how it works.
  26. Thats just up the road from me. I hope your son gets what is owed to him. I’m a welder myself, poor management can suck the life out of a work environment.
  27. This is the most important information missing.

    If he is a W2 employee then file a complaint with the labor board.

    If he’s a 1099 it comes with the territory and it's now a civil matter. He could potentially file a lien on the house which will likely get him paid.

    The fact he had a boss if he was a 1099 he may have been misclassified and could make life hell for them.
  28. My attorney who I have retained for several different things over the years will write a letter for me if I ask for no or very nominal charge, maybe dinner somewhere. He says that he would rather help his clients avoid court if he can.

    I agree that not all of the details were crystal clear, but I think that may have been the OP not wanting to go to great detail or blow by blow accounting.

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  29. This thought is was prompted my question, as it is a very important detail that seems to have been overlooked by many.
  30. Lots of violent protesting in that area.. hope the contractor does not lose too many windows from gunfire.
  31. Are you saying there was a Trump sign on the construction trailer? Or “Blue lives matter more” on it?
  32. So I sent this guy a message this morning that reads as follows:

    Hi Rob, my name is Eric, and I am Jesse's father.

    I typically leave them to fight their own battles, but this one is near and dear to my heart since Jesse is not my only deaf child, and honestly, your efforts to screw him out of what he is owed really pisses me off.

    Jesse shared with me your unfortunate stance on not wanting to pay him. He also shared with me your emotional, vulgar tirade which included your claims of why you're not going to pay him. Fortunately for us, we have numerous pictures of his work, before and after, where he had gone back to fix other people's shoddy work. So your claim of him messing up a bunch of work is not going to fly.

    Let me bottom line this for you. You have 72 hours to pay him what you owe him. If you choose not to, this is what we are going to do.

    Our first course of action will be to file a complaint with the Tennessee Department of labor. Not only for non payment, but also for discrimination as according to a couple of other people on the crew, Jesse was the only one singled out to be treated as he was by your guy Nathan.

    Next, we are going to file a complaint with the federal government under the Americans With Disabilities act for the reasons stated above.

    Next, we are going to file liens on every house in that development that Jesse did any work on whatsoever. If he doesn't get paid those houses cannot be sold.

    Finally, I am going to contact D.R. Horton and explain to them that your company is participating in discriminatory practices because of the way Jesse was treated because of his hearing disability.

    This could end up being extremely costly for you, over a paltry few hundred dollars. It doesn't mean much to you, but that is 2/3 of his monthly rent payment, so it means a lot to him. Are you truly willing to risk being investigated, having to hire attorneys, and possibly losing your contract with the biggest home builder in the country over four hundred and some dollars? I will leave that for you to decide.

    Like I said, pay him within 72 hours, or pay hell. Have a nice day.
  33. That was an unfortunate decision. Though morally right, legally you just threatened tortious interference in probably their biggest contract and coupled it with a demand for payment. You then further coupled it with threats of federal and state reporting of wrongdoing. One could make a very good argument that you are attempting to commit extortion.

    Don't ever threaten to exercise your rights in exchange for payment. What you've done is not all that different from what Michael Avenatti was convicted of recently. If you have legal recourse, don't threaten to use it, just use it. That will bring them to the negotiating table without putting yourself in undue legal exposure.
  34. Good Luck!
  35. I think extortion is a stretch, if he is not asking for more than is legally owed. I would ask for a jury trial on that.
  36. I think he would win in the end. Or rather, lose less. Nobody ultimately wins if you go to court. But, he did give them something that they can now use to cloud the issue (if they are so inclined). At a minimum, this should have been in the form of a demand letter from an attorney so it would at least be covered under the rules of "settlement negotiations". Plus, extortion is a crime and a tort (as is tortious interference). They could skip filing charges and just pursue the civil route.

    And for the record, I am not an attorney, I don't play one on TV, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. This is not legal advice, just a private opinion.
  37. $22 an hour. That's all they pay carpenters there. Ouch....
    Is he an apprentice?
  38. Personally, I would prefer the old fashion way of punching him in the face until he came up with the money. However, apparently that is not legal, but it would likely reduce the chances of him doing something like that again, but would land you in jail. Also not a legal opinion.
  39. Yeah......I wouldn’t have sent that......
  40. I would take a deep breath and catch up on Tenn. law concerning employment including ADA employment.
    Their are agencies that can help your son, they are also free. Most of the info can be gathered with a phone.
    As others have expressed you will gather more flies with honey than vinegar
    Good luck to you and your son.
  41. 1. legal questions. If you don't already have a lawyer, your county bar associations and state bar association will usually have a referral service. Here, in my town, there is no charge for an initial 1/2 hour consultation.

    2. my comments are directed at my experience with lawyers. My first boss told me to make friends with a lawyer. Take him to lunch once in a while. The business deals are made through lawyers in this country. OP did not cultivate a lawyer. He could have asked his question to a local guy over lunch.

    I have spent thousands of dollars on lawyers. I have spent money on CPAs.

    Years ago, my mom was sick. I ASKED around for the best estate lawyer in town and got a referral. He did her estate plan. Then he did my dad's.

    The lawyer complained to me that he could never make money off my dad because he came prepared with written questions, a pen and a notepad.

    For the older guys: do you write your questions out for your doctor before going for a visit? Do you take a notepad and pen to meetings? Most people do not do it!

    For the younger guys, start now making friends with a lawyer, take him to lunch, never go see a professional - lawyer, accountant, doctor, car mechanic without all your questions written out, carry a pad and pen.

    3. For everyone. Most of you have had 6 months of downtime. How many of you have a written will and/or an intervivos trust? Would you like to be in the 90% of the general population who die without a will? It will cost you.

    Example 1. Girlfriend was married to a lawyer. Met her as she was finishing her divorce. He died without a will. Simple estate - a condo, a very few investments. It cost his estate an additional $35,000 in lawyer fees and court costs that could have been avoided.

    Example 2. The old b.s. about how you have things under control. Best friend and his girlfriend stopped by as they were going off for a three day weekend. She had been recently sick. Oh, yeah, she had her estate plan. Fortunately, her boyfriend was a CPA. She had lied to her boyfriend that she had a written estate plan. Just like most of us, I have better things to do. I will do it during my final illness. I saw her one week before she died. Fortunately, the boyfriend looked at her employment contract and had her retire, rather than die without retiring. She received a check for $100,000 that would have been lost.

    So here it is. You went through 6 months of down time. You didn't want to spend the money or the time to get your estate plan done.

    I went to one of the free retirement seminars. After which, you could have a free hour of consultation at the law office. I took a box of donuts to the free hour along with written questions. At the end, I could not use the lawyer's services. I pulled out a $100 bill and gave it to him. Although the consultation was free, I looked him in the eye and said I wanted him to remember me. And, he will.

    4. Now there is going to be a big weekly Democratic presidential race bomb that Mr. Trump did not pay much in taxes. That is ok with me. He hired the best attorneys and CPAs that he could afford. His tax returns were also either audited or subject to audit. You would do the same thing if you sensible.

    5. Henry Ford was under cross examination in a court hearing. The other side's attorney was making fun of his lack of education. Finally Ford got mad and said that he had three telephones on his desk. He could pick up a phone and call for the best advice. You can do the same thing. Make friends with a lawyer, an accountant, your dentist and your doctor. I gave my dentist a bottle of wine every year on her birthday. I gave my primary doctor a bottle of champagne when each of her children were born.
  42. IF he is an employee then they still owe him for the time he spent on the job up to the time he quit. No ifs or buts about it.

    IF he is a sub contractor, paid by the job, then file a mechanics lien against the property he was working on. It doesn't take a lawyer to do that, just read up on it a little and you can figure that out. More than likely they will pay him what they owe just to free it all up again and avoid the bad publicity and conflict.
  43. He just wants what's coming to him, and that is what was expressed.

    Extortion would be more like: "I have nude photos of your wife I am going to release if you don't give me 10k dollars."

    If you saw the tirade I mentioned in the message, you would understand why I went the way I did. If he pays the kid, it goes away, if not then we will move forward.
  44. Did you see the tirade?
  45. yes...

    this guy is a real paragon of (un)professionalism.
  46. Totally agree. You and your son are in the moral right on this. The guy owes your son.
    That's what laypeople think it is, but what it really is are the legal elements as defined by the law. The way the law works is that every crime or tort has well defined legal elements (and also well defined legal defenses). If the elements are met and none of the defenses are applicable then the law applies (as does the consequences). It doesn't matter if you are in the moral right or not.
    I get it. I really do, more than you probably realize. But my point is an attorney wouldn't have written that way and for good reason. They know the elements as defined by the law and would have worded it to steer you away from them. Something more akin to "we have legal rights under state and federal guidelines and intend to pursue them against you and your contractual associate to the full extent of the law". This makes it clear you are not letting this go without pinning it to a demand for payment. They would have understood exactly what you meant, but you would be covered.

    My advice... Don't communicate with them further except through an attorney. Get a lawyer and let them write the demand letters. They know how.
  47. [/QUOTE]

    The department of labor, nor the ADA require us to hire an attorney, that would require him to hire an attorney to defend himself against the charges. Hell I probably couldn't get a good attorney to write a letter for $450.00.
  48. No, but I am advising you to hire one anyway because you're angry and emotional about this (and rightly so) and you are saying things and doing things that "feel" right, but could put you in serious legal liability. If it's not worth hiring a lawyer then just don't talk directly with them at all any more and just let it go. With that letter already being sent, if you pursue this further it will look like you are carrying out your extortionary threat. I doubt that would result in anything criminal, a DA isn't going to take time with this, but extortion is also a tort and they could sue you and jam up your whole life for months making you defend against it (and spending 10s of thousands on a lawyer in the process).
  49. It was a joke.

  50. There are a lot of jokers in this crowd, or Joe Bidens, not sure which.

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