19 hours ago
Saturday, November 12, 2011
The downside of hiring farm help: Isaac Dozier
[UPDATE Jan 27, 2012: You'll find the resolution of this issue in this blog entry. I had to sue him to get my stuff back; I did get my fence charger and weed burner back from the guy, though. ]
I hired Isaac earlier this year to work on my farm. He did well in the interview, and seemed like a nice enough fellow at the time.
Now I've had lots of experience with hiring and firing folks, and when folks call me for a reference, what I can say legally is a bit constrained. It's a my-word-against-their-word sort of deal, and I don't really want to get into a pissing match with someone, so I don't say much.
Isaacs last day was in July sometime, and as usual I got the paperwork from the state about his application for unemployment benefits, which I thought was a bit odd as he'd only worked for me for a month or two, but whatever. I filled it out accurately and sent it in. There are good reasons to make sure that you're paying people above the table. I use a payroll company to figure the deductions and so on for just this sort of situation.
Somewhere around then I was looking for an electric fence charger, a big 200 mile beast that costs around $600. I had hung it on a peg and I couldn't find it, and a brand-new weedburner, too. Come to find out that both items were last seen with Isaac, and that had been a few days before his last day. So I emailed Isaac and asked him for it back. No response. I then called him and asked him for it back. No response to voicemail. I wrote a letter (US MAIL) and sent that to him, with no response.
Finally I drove out to his house - he lives with his mother, and there was my charger. Hanging on the fence, right next to the house. Fine. I walked up to the door, and knocked, and when he came to the door I said I'd come for my charger and could he go get my weedburner? I walked over to the fence and unhooked it. Well, it didn't go over very well with his family. His mother is screaming at me: "You touched me! I have witnesses! You touched me! His brother Paul is doing the chest bump with me (which is kinda funny as the top of pauls head is nipple high on me, and I had a hard time not laughing at that) and Isaac just stood in the background "I'm calling the police". Please do, Isaac. I told his mother that this was my fence charger and that I wanted it back. Paul ripped the charger from my hands, and I thought about it, and then got in my car and drove to the end of their driveway. I called the Skagit county sheriff, and talked to the officer who'd been assigned, and asked what he thought i should do.
"Well, " says the officer, "I asked them why you were there. They said they didn't know, and something about equipment" and I explained about the charger and then said "well, I'd be happy to have my charger back and call it a day" and the sheriff said "yea, I told them that it'd be simpler just to return it".
Ok Sheriff. What should I do? Can I file a theft report with you? "No, you have to do it in the jurisdiction where the theft occurred. How much is the charger worth? " $600. "Oh wow. That's a felony case, then. Why don't they return it? " I don't know, officer. In my opinion they appear to be an entire family of nitwits. The sheriff laughed.
So I wrote a US MAIL letter and mailed it, requesting that they return my charger in the next 7 days or I'd be forced to file a felony theft report, as I had no other option. I waited 2 weeks for a reply. Nothing.
I then got a wage complaint from L&I, where it was claimed that I'd shorted him on his pay. I checked his paychecks, and the hours worked, and then again, and I'd paid him for all of the time he'd worked. I sent the state the copy of the paychecks Isaac had cashed.
So a couple of days ago I got several comments on my blog.
Is this the "Humane Pig Farm" Bruce speaks so highly of? http://s1208.photobucket.com/albums/cc380/tomthebomb5/
And I looked at those photos that are a mix of photos that I've used in my blog and some other photos. The timing of the photos is right... yea. It was when Isaac was working. And the photos aren't what I'd consider cute farm photos. From the data on the photos I figure it it was Isaac who took them, and the stuff that he's taking pictures of he's supposed to be taking care of.
But that's not really enough, so I go over to facebook and look at Isaacs facebook page.
So I write Isaac an email. Hey, if you want to say something to me, or to the folks on my blog, why not just write it? I promise not to edit or censor anything you say. Say whatever you'd like, and I'll publish it. No response, as usual. So I send a message to his girlfriend asking that she get ahold of him and let him know I'm interested in whatever he has to say. No response there, either.
"Hey, is this Bruce?"
Yes, who's this? This is xxxx from the yyyy dairy. You run a pig farm down there, right? "
Yep, I do. Whats up?
"Did you have a kid named Isaac work for you? "
Why. Yes. I. Did.
"Can I ask you about his work".
gosh, I'd love to, but I can only say his hire date, and last day. But if you asked me, I could tell you whether we'd rehire him.
"Ok then. Would you rehire him? "
"Is there anything else that I should know about him that you can tell me?"
You near a computer? "yes". Ok, his facebook profile name is idozier4509, I'd look at the entry on his wall on May 20th.
yea, that's what it says. I'd ask him what he means by that.
"Horse tranquilizers? He's kidding, right?"
I can't say what this guy is thinking, honestly. You'd have to ask him.
"I think I have what I need. Thanks for your time, Bruce. "
Isaac, I'd really like my fence charger and weed burner back.