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Fired for forgery? in Illinois

by Todd
(Downers Grove, Il)

I drive for an independent owner of a Fed Ex route. My work history is excellent and my boss is always positive with my work ethics. He states, because I signed off on a package delivered at Wal Mart and left package (Hall Mark products) on back dock it is considered forging Wal Marts receivers signature.

Time is important as my job depends on how many deliveries I am able to accomplish in a given day. It is severely frowned upon if a driver brings back any deliveries. Spending ten or more minutes waiting for a person to come to the dock to accept the delivery means less time to get the days deliveries accomplished. With the cut back of employees it can be frustrating when nobody will answer the bell to accept a delivery. Work loads have been doubled for many. Therefore I have had to wait for someone to receive and sign for the delivery almost every stop or come back the next day and try again. The practice of leaving a delivery on docks/counters/ back rooms is common among all drivers.
I feel the underlining reason for my being fired is the fact that I have complained to my boss about safety violations being ignored regarding the truck I was forced to operate. I refused to drive one of the trucks because it was far too risky and I didn't want to lose my trucking license. The burden of operating such an unsafe vehicle would be mine and my loss if I had an accident. The truck wouldn't pass a DOT inspection. I have never been fired before. Do I need to ask for written documentation regarding as to why I was fired? What about filing for unemployment? Can I? What should I request from my "former" boss.

Hi Todd,

I don't see anything that could prevent you from filing a valid claim. You were an employee .. right?

You should request your personnel file.

What is the
written rule in regard to your violation? It is a common thread in unemployment, that for an employer to prove good cause for firing a person for a rule violation, it needs to be a "uniformly" enforced rule. In other words, if this practice is commonplace amongst delivery drivers, does the employer react the same every time he becomes aware that a person is doing it.

It's just plain old difficult for an employer to sustain their burden if they arbitrarily enforce the rule, but with this said, understand it is not impossible.

You said something that I think you need to make the state aware of .. especially in conjunction with the arbitrary rule enforcement argument. That is, you believe your boss fired you because you had complained about the unsafeness of the equipment you were using. Make sure the state knows this. It raises another issue for your boss .. one of retaliation. The proximity of these two events .. your complaint about safety issues and your discharge are relevant to each other.

If you can prove that what you did was a common, everyday occurrence among all drivers and that your employer was aware of it .. well, you will have not only created a case for why you were not discharged with cause, but possibly a scenario for why you were "wrongfully discharged".

Believe me, your CDL is your livelihood. You have every right to protect it and believe this also, many employers get rid of people by any means possible, if they think an employee will turn out to be nothing, but a pain in their ass because an employee has the nerve to assert their rights in the workplace.

It's common practice, it's illegal, and they get away with it all the time because most employees are clueless about their rights in the workplace.

If you have more questions, let me know. I just thought this would be some useful stuff to think about first.

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