Since I received this story from a loyal reader I have tried diligently to figure out some in’s and outs so that this article would be fair and unbiased. To be honest, I haven’t found much of anything that supports my initial belief and inclination which was to rag on the ‘mega corp’ while siding with the part of this industry I admire the most, – the tech. Since lawyers, legal speak and errant websites abound it was difficult finding hard facts so I’m afraid all I can offer is my opinion. Based on what I know from my 27 years in the industry, owning a company and having been in the SAME shoes those techs involed in this are, let’s just say- If you are a California Terminix employee you may not enjoy this article – OR (& I hope this is the case) you will set me straight on some things as you see it that I could not find or know. Either way I welcome yours or anyones opinion on this subject who has the same or another view.
We all know what a class action suit is right? It usually is started by one disgruntled person or small party of folks but is expanded to include the many more who may be caught up in the same situation but haven’t spoken up. The purpose is to settle the whole matter for the many all at once rather than go through each individual case. In the end, the many who are involved only dilute the overall “pie” that is to be cut up but the lawyers always make sure their 1/2 (or more) is set aside and can’t be touched by those who were “allegedly” wronged. Compared to what the individual gets, the lawyers are ALWAYS the big winners.
This action was initiated by Plaintiff Brian Ayala, on behalf of all employees of Terminix International, Inc. of California but in reality there were TWO such lawsuits filed. Terminix has since offered a settlement of 9 million dollars. It is unclear at the time of this writing whether one or both of these matters has been settled but there is one aspect I see as clear as day.
In August 2006, a class action lawsuit was filed in San Bernardino County Superior Court against Terminix International, Inc. and Terminix International Company Limited Partnership. On behalf of all California technicians, the lawsuit seeks wages, including overtime pay, for off-the-clock work, including time spent traveling from company offices to the technician’s first daily assignment, time spent arranging and confirming the following day’s appointments, and working meal periods, during which employees spent unpaid lunch periods traveling between appointments or doing other work for Terminix.
Are You Kidding Me?
Besides the fact that I have to call out fellow technicians my real problem with this lawsuit, if this is all that’s to it– is that this is major BS! The settlement proposed is $9 million dollars total or $38 dollars per week for the period of Dec 5th 2001 to Dec 26th 2008. The math works out to $13,832 per tech and they get this because-
They had to eat their lunch while driving…
Travel time from the office to their first appointment…
They had to confirm their next days appointments….
I’m sorry but- I and THOUSANDS of techs like me have been doing this for years. Aren’t you commissioned based? The draw system RIGHT? You get paid on the amount of work you do-PRODUCTION I think they call it. You do a certain amount you get certain pay- work more you get more don’t get the route done and well, you get problems. It’s what you signed on for- it’s been this way for years & I got news for you. Terminix isn’t the only one who does this. And for a further news flash- Many pest control firms are EVEN WORSE at pay versus work. Believe me- I’ve experienced that first hand. Now I really don’t begrudge anyone for wanting a better lot in life, in fact I encourage it. But if you feel that you’re being dogged by this arrangement with Terminix, just wait until you cut bait and head for greener pastures. IT AIN’T THERE for the employee minded person who just wants to collect a paycheck and never go forward in his or her career. This is to me just a quick jump on a band wagon that has a short sighted & limited reward.
My math has each tech in this suit getting awarded 13 k or there abouts if the lawyers get nothing but hell, you know that ain’t happening. Terminix is offering 9 million to make this go away. That means there is either only 692.3 disgruntled techs in California or by the time this thing is said and done- there will only be a few hundred measly dollars if that for the individual and you’ll be asked to continue the hard work of running a route, dealing with schedules and doing what technicians have done & continue to do around the rest of the country or take your $ 200.00 award and leave.
Maybe you’ll leave the industry because you’re disillusioned or perhaps you really like the work and you’ll apply to companies such as mine. You’ll have some pretty good qualifications alright but when it comes to that part on the application as to why you left your last job what will you say? When I look at you and tell you what I expect will you readily agree and happily take on the task? My gut says you will and that this bogus lawsuit has just caught you & many of your peers in an awkward place where you thought you might cash in although you’re really not sure why.
It’s at this time (although I won’t admit it for legal reasons) I won’t hire you. Why should I just so you can bring this same misery mentality on me? No company including Terminix was created so you could have a job and dictate terms. It’s just not so. Although it would never be worth the time of Terminix to single you or your co-litigants out one by one- it might be if they too, could include you in a class action suit.