I got a temp job to make some money. I quit, as they were docking my pay so much that I made no money. I can't imagine this is legal.
First, the backstory. This Virginia toy reseller purchased 20,000 light up necklaces to sell to a theme park. They received the shipment from a distributor in China. When they came in, they realized the breakaway clasp was way to tight. It was extremely hard to snap and unsnap. Essentially, they weren't breakaway. They felt this was a danger, as if the necklace was around someone's neck and it got caught while on a ride, it could be a serious hazard. They found if they used a specific tool, they can shave down the plastic and make it easy to breakaway. That's where the temps come in.
Three temps came in to do the work. It was independent contract work and they were paying $0.19 per piece. If a piece was damaged, they were charging $3 per piece, as that is what they were selling it for to the theme park.
We settled into an assembly line, where I was unpackaging the necklaces. The next person was shaving them down and the next was getting them ready to be repackaged.
We did 1684 in 2 days. At $0.19 per piece, that's $106 per person. Today, they said, 96 of those were unusable. That's a 94% success rate. They said they were charging us the $3 per piece, split amongst the 3 of us. That $288 split three ways, docking us each $96. However, I didn't damage any of the pieces, as I was just unpacking them.
Today, we switched to everyone doing their own work. I did 75. Out of those 75, 72 were good, making me $13.68, but losing me $9. A 96% success rate, netted $4.68. At that point, I realized there was no money to be made and I quit.
In roughly 2.5 days of work I made $14.68.
I asked to talk to the president of the company. I explained the situation and he said those were the rules. I told him I didn't damage any of the first 96 and that with only 3 bad today, I still made no money. He said he "understood where I was coming from." Really? Thanks. I said I would check with a lawyer to see if this was legal. His lips trembled at this. It obviously hit a nerve and he got upset and was close to yelling. He still said that he owed me no more than the $14. However, due to his reaction, I have a feeling he can't be charging us $3 per piece and he knew it.
So I have two questions:
- Can they dock $3 per piece? I'm sure they didn't buy it at that rate, that's what they are selling them for.
- Can I be held responsible for the 96 damaged pieces that I didn't damage?