Do you press charges?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by shovelracer, May 12, 2008.

  1. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,009

    Well anyone that has seen my other threads lately has seen that my employee troubles have been pretty bad this year. I had one little punk that got his verbal and written warnings. Then on friday he no call, no showed cause he assumed that we werent working in the rain. He called at 1:30 friday demanding I come meet him to get his pay. Well law states he doesnt have to get it till the next working day. So today he shows up in the morning, Im ready to fire him anyways, but want to have a chat. I dont even get a chance. He starts off swearing and insulting me and my business practices cause he didnt get his money on the day he no call no showed. I explain the law to him and tell him Im not going to listen to this and tell him to leave. He tells me to "watch my back", and "he'll see me in the streets". He than speeds away after a few more choice words. Im not real worried as Ive heard this before, but this guy seems to have been scheming since day one. Do I consider this a threat? Do I file a report? Do I press charges? I dont have time for this garbage, but I want to make sure if my stuff gets messed up, or my clients for that matter Im kinda covered. What do you do?
  2. PerfectEarth

    PerfectEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,734

    Dude, I'm sorry. People suck! Why is it so damn hard to find a decent individual to work in this industry?? I suppose it comes down to the vibe you get from the guy- are his words something you think he'd back up with a stupid action or is he all talk??

    DLAWNS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,778

    If you don't think he'd truly do something, let it go. But if you want, just file a report just so its on record, that way if he does do something, the police know that you already were proactive and that whatever might happen will be because of his threats, that way it will be easier to prove that it was him. That's just my opinion. I'm curious to see what others think.
  4. Ed Ryder

    Ed Ryder LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 541

    I'm not experienced as an employer, but in my opinion I would document everything that happened. Write it all out. And weigh in your mind whether you should risk retaliation for bringing police trouble to the guy, or if you think his words were empty threats and he'll probably calm down and forget about it.

    My concern would be vandalism of your property after he gets out of jail or out of court or whatever happens with him if you turn it into a criminal matter.

    I think the matter would involve a private criminal complaint that you would have to prosecute yourself? I'm not cetain on that.

    If he is out on parole, you could really damage him.

    Hmm... if you really think he is going to get you, maybe you should discuss it with the police?

    Go with your gut on the matter.
  5. jsf343

    jsf343 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,767

    I agree with Ed, You really need to file so it is at least on record, That way he knows you are not taking any crap and are following the law. Watch the accounts he knows about really closely, watch your truck and equipment as well. I would also give your employees directions on what the procedures are if he contacts one of them, or if he meets them at a site and starts bad mouthing you, etc. You don't have to tell them what happened (take the high road, plus it shows you are keeping things confidential-which you are supposed to do) Have your ducks in a row, give him his last check and be done, but definitely at least file a report, this way if something does happen the police will be really quick to respond instead of coming out going through all the interviews from you and him, etc. This will show he is a trouble maker and they will know about it and be quick to act.


    AABHRLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 14

    I have had the same thing happen more than once! Why aren't there more decent people in this business...seems like a bunch of drunks, druggies and people who wanna show up for a check and that's about it! Most of them are all talk and will never do anything.

    In Jan '05 I had spinal surgery and was obviously on pain medication. I had a guy threaten to go to my customers and tell them about my "pill addiction" if he wasn't paid on the spot. Then later in the night started calling my 63+ elderly Mother and threatening her if he wasn't paid. That guy went to jail for a little time cause of those calls and because he was already charged with the same crime with his ex-wife!

    About 2 years ago here in VA Beach, VA a guy threatened to come back and mess up my equip. So I called the police to file a report just in case. Well, the local po po around here found it very "unnecessary that I called" and "there was nothing they could do for me" and suggested I set up a camera system to watch my stuff. I hope your local law enforcement is a little more public serving than mine.

    Anyways, definitely document everything he said and has done to cover yourself and in case it does go to court. Have any witnesses' document what they have seen out of him. Go ahead and warn your crew what to do with a disgruntled employees. But don"t mention names to keep each employees confidentiality. They will trust you more for that.

    Odds are he will never do anything. He was trying to be a big man in public because he knows how small he is in real life. I tell you these things so you understand we all go through these kind of things. There are a lot of rotten eggs in the world and seems like a lot more in this industry. There will always be problem employees as long as there is business. Sounds to me like you have handled yourself well. Maybe a camera or beefed up security is the answer for your own peace of mind but I would not worry about him talking to customers or damaging properties. I would bet my savings on it. It's all talk! However, you have a rep-or with your customers, he does not!, They deal with you and trust you. They do not with him. And if he does damage property. I'm sure he's dumb enough to have left something behind or contact someone to give away that it was him and the cops will get him then! Let him screw up his life and go on with yours!!!!!!
  7. Happy Frog

    Happy Frog LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,224

    Press charges and get a no contact court order against him. This will prevent any future harassment from this guy. If he insists and come see you again you can call LEO and have him arrested on the spot.
    Doing this will protect you and other employers as well, he may change his way by learning a lesson and become a better employee and citizen.
    Remember that you promote what you authorize. If you authorize an employee to treat you that way, you are promoting it and he will feel that he now can do it all the time...
  8. Joe Shooner

    Joe Shooner LawnSite Member
    Posts: 160

    I'm not an expert, but if it were me, I'd briefly summarize the situation on paper and compile any written documentation. Then I'd write a friendly letter to the local police, explaining the situation and ask them simply to keep this information on file in case anything does happen in the future.

    Make 3 copies, mail one to the police, one to the former employee and keep one yourself - or copy your company attorney if you have one.
  9. mgugliotti

    mgugliotti Inactive
    Posts: 58

    good advice, but i would add one thing: mail it to yourself, and don't open it when you get it, just file it away.... it is called a poor man's copyright... no one can contest it's validity at that point.
  10. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,547

    You may want to file a report, but I dont think you can press charges on someone for telling you to watch your back.

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