Life and Family

Doing Your Job

Who can an O/O go to for help when the company butchers his paycheque with deductions with no paperwork to back them up?

Well, if that isnít the $64,000 question! The answer, bluntly, is nowhere but to court. The solution lies in the wording of the contract, or perhaps the lack of wording. Owner-operators have no recource whatsoever except to file suit for breach of contract against the carrier to recover the monies owed, but the court may well side with the carrier if the contract gives it the right to withhold funds.

The contract should state implicitly what the carrier is entitled to withhold under which circumstances, but if the contract makes no mention of withholding funds for particular reeasons, then the courts often look upon that action as setting a presidence thatís over and above the terms of the contract. In other words, unless the contract says it canít, the carrier is entitled to withhold funds at its descretion.

That may not sound fair, and it really isnít, but the owner-op has a real obligation to understand the terms of the contract before he signs it. He has to read it to find all the hidden clauses, as well, to find out what the contract doesnít say. If that sounds difficult, it is. But thatís why some carriers draw up really nebulous contracts, then refuse to allow you to have a lawyer review it.

If they tell you you canít take the contract with you to review, then when you walk out the door, keep walking. Thereís probably something there they donít want you or your lawyers to see.

Jim Park