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I. Ben Havin
(@i-ben-havin)
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Joined: 6 years  ago
Posts: 327
April 24, 2017 6:15 pm  

Kent McMillan, post: 424820, member: 3 wrote: I see the contrary evidence with such regularity that it is virtually a Law of the Universe that unless a surveyor charges a sufficient fee, lots of bad stuff happens.

😉

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RoosterCogburn
(@roostercogburn)
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Joined: 9 months  ago
Posts: 1
January 11, 2018 3:39 pm  

I have a question.  I was hoping to keep it private, but I guess as a new member, I am not allowed to send messages yet.  First off, I am not sure I set my account up correctly. Want to make it clear that I am not an RPLS, but a Party Chief for the last 17 years with the company I am working for.    I am not going to name the company unless it becomes absolutely necessary, because I am not petty enough to start smearing someones name unless really pushed to do so, and have good cause.

Anyway, I can't seem to find my answer online, and found this link while trying to do so.  My question involves what I believe to be a professional ethics violation.  For several years now, the owner of the company I work for has more or less stepped aside and let the new RPLS take over and start running the show, because the owner who is also an RPLS is planning to retire and sell the company to the new guy.  I am discovering that the new boss is really lacking in honesty and integrity, and he is absolutely hostile about anything that doesn't work according to what he thinks is a well thought out master plan, though he spent a minimum amount of time in the field to experience some of the problems that arise, and how to deal with them.  To the point that I am just about ready to report him to the board, seek legal advice, and then begin my search for a new job.  He lies, he uses others names to get things his way, he cheats the clients on a regular basis.  An example would be, send us to a job to do what should be 2 hours of work, but make us sit there for 8 hours so he can charge them the full day.  Now the clients are starting to catch on, and giving other companies the work, which is putting us employees in jeopardy of having to find new jobs.  He has also on several occasions threatened our job, if we didn't stay and work the extra hour, but without getting compensated for that extra hour in the form of OT or bonuses or anything to make up for it.

My question boils down to, I know what he is doing is definitely unethical, dishonest as well as immoral, and illegal as for the OT, but is it a "professional ethics" violation? 

As I stated earlier, I am not a petty person.  I do not want to just go reporting him, without researching first, and giving him the opportunity to correct his ways. I am an honest person, and I do not like being forced into a situation that makes me look like a dishonest person.  I would rather get fired, then tarnish the good reputation I have built over the years.   

Can you help me answer my question?  Or at least a link to where I can find what I am looking for?  I'm not a youngster any longer, and it is getting harder to find a new and better job when you have the experience I have, due to my age.  I am feeling a bit trapped into a corner.

Thank you in advance for any help, or pointing me in the right direction.


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Bill93
(@bill93)
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Posts: 4893
January 11, 2018 4:10 pm  

@Wendell  how did a thread with its most recent post from last April get on top of the list of "Recent Posts" ?

Of course, my reply will assure that it is there, but I'm mystified as to why it made the list for me to reply to.

Surveying Ethics and Conflicts of Interest  

By Kent McMillan 9 months  ago  |  Last Post: 48 years  ago


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holy cow
(@holy-cow)
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Posts: 14768
January 11, 2018 6:12 pm  

Whoever put up the Twilight Zone pic in the thread on the mystery spot should do so here as well.


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Loyal
(@loyal)
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Posts: 2872
January 11, 2018 6:21 pm  
Posted by: holy cow

Whoever put up the Twilight Zone pic in the thread on the mystery spot should do so here as well.

I was thinking the same thing.

"Perilous to us all are the devices of an art deeper than we possess ourselves."
Gandalf, The Two Towers


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Loyal
(@loyal)
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Posts: 2872
January 11, 2018 6:24 pm  

Or:

"Perilous to us all are the devices of an art deeper than we possess ourselves."
Gandalf, The Two Towers


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LRDay
(@lrday)
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Posts: 2581
January 11, 2018 6:45 pm  

From Bill93's post

 

By Kent McMillan 9 months  ago  |  Last Post: 48 years  ago


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warren ward PLS CO OK
(@warren-ward-pls-co-ok)
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Joined: 2 years  ago
Posts: 180
January 11, 2018 9:17 pm  

I worked for an engineer, RIP, for six years, long ago. the engineer was president of the company, so he had to approve all survey bills. He was a highly regarded professional, and expected the best, and as an engineer, did very good work. Like some engineers, he did not see why surveying took so long. Why couldn't we find the pins we needed? What's so hard about setting four corners of a simple square property? why can't we predict how long it will take to find a quarter of a section? etc. etc. No matter what the situation was, he expected the highest of standards from the survey department. 

For six years, I prepared bills based on hourly rates, made estimates, researched, and to the best of my ability, never cut corners. 

And you know what, all of this taught me some really bad habits: I found myself thinking about CUTTING CORNERS just so this guy would be happ.

For six years, I would get a call from the engineer twice a month, and we would spend 1 or 2 hours discussing my bills (or, more specifically, my hours). For six years, I explained to a renowned professional what I did, hour after hour, and why, while he, the boss, was sure in his head that I was just slow, lazy, and actually went out there and chose to waste my time all day, every day, when it was sure to him that everything I said I did could have been done in about 1/10 the time by any serious professional. For six years, this boss forced me into lowering the time on my bills before he would approve them. 

I spent more time explaining to the boss what surveyors did, and why, than I did getting work done (or so it seemed). For six years, this boss never once could fathom why I would have the gall and audacity to try to charge to much time for doing so little. I also met a few clients that refused to pay for roughly the same reason. 

ww CO & OK PLS

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Wendell
(@wendell)
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Joined: 8 years  ago
Posts: 4262
January 11, 2018 9:37 pm  
Posted by: Bill93

@Wendell  how did a thread with its most recent post from last April get on top of the list of "Recent Posts" ?

Of course, my reply will assure that it is there, but I'm mystified as to why it made the list for me to reply to.

Surveying Ethics and Conflicts of Interest  

By Kent McMillan 9 months  ago  |  Last Post: 48 years  ago

Apparently it's a bug with unapproved posts. A new user (see above) posted a new reply, but new users are required to have their first post moderated by yours truly. This is a security measure to protect us all from spammers and scammers. Now that I've approved his post, you should see it. Prior to approval, I could see it here in the thread but you couldn't -- so the Recent Posts function must've been a little confused by that.

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StLSurveyor
(@stlsurveyor)
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Joined: 6 years  ago
Posts: 1319
January 12, 2018 3:26 am  

Well, I would assume you have a good relationship with your previous boss both business and personal. If he still has a stake in the operation I would would discuss your observations and concerns with him. I am sure that they would not want such activities representing their legacy. If there is not luck there, then I would simply draft a letter of concern and send it to the board. Depending on what State you are in the Board could act quickly or not at all. Regardless, if a notice is sent to that RPLS (Texas I assume) that a complaint or request to investigate has been opened up against him then you should see changes rather quickly.

My advice would be to discuss with the original owner, get your resume together and call your competition and look for another job. 

 

Professional Surveyor - MO, AR, KS, KY
sUAS Certified Pilot


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Mike Marks
(@mike-marks)
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Posts: 411
January 12, 2018 9:42 am  
Posted by: RoosterCogburn

[  .  .  .  ] He has also on several occasions threatened our job, if we didn't stay and work the extra hour, but without getting compensated for that extra hour in the form of OT or bonuses or anything to make up for it. [  .  .  .  ]

Totally illegal; that's called wage theft.  You can contact your State's Labor Board (Labor Commissioner's office) for information on how to file a wage claim. If your employer discriminates or retaliates against you in any manner whatsoever, for example, he discharges you because you file a wage claim or threaten to file a wage claim with the Labor Commissioner, you can file a discrimination/retaliation complaint with the Labor Commissioner's Office. 

OTOH I've been in situations where a 9th hour of work completes the job at a remote site and just taken a paid hour off later as compensation.  Technically I'm breaking the law by doing so.  "An employee cannot waive his or her right to overtime compensation [  .  .  .  ]."  But since my boss was also my good friend and fishing buddy  we both bent the law a bit because driving back to the site the following day for one hour's work  would have broken the budget.

BTW the Labor Board at least in this State is the real deal; they'll pursue the issue like a pit bull and are your advocate.  If you want to do the world some good and nail this guy, report a successful Labor Board claim to the State Department of Licensing, which I suspect will have to act with a suspension/revocation of his license, a clear ethics violation.

 


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aliquot
(@aliquot)
500+ posts Member
Joined: 7 years  ago
Posts: 818
January 12, 2018 7:31 pm  

If your state can't help you (many won't) the federal Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division will. I would suggest talking to the other RPLS first, but don't let him get away with it.


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iGage IG8

summerprophet@hotmail.com
(@summerprophet)
250+ posts Member
Joined: 4 years  ago
Posts: 357
January 12, 2018 9:23 pm  

Rooster,

Firstly I am sorry you are in this position.

Secondly, surveying and engineering have a long history of honesty and integrity that is practiced by better than 90 percent of the licensees. 

The fact is, those few individuals that don't adhere to these high standards, are well known by their colleagues. If your new boss is willing to bend, skirt, or break the rules, word is already out, or will be out soon. You are on a sinking ship. If he is stealing from his employees, whom he knows and works with, why wouldn't he cheat the clients, the taxman, or fellow professionals.

This is the time to reach out to other professionals, and see about changing employers. Don't muddy your current employer, but do it before your coworkers are doing the same thing and creating competition.

 


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eapls2708
(@eapls2708)
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Joined: 8 years  ago
Posts: 1735
January 18, 2018 4:06 pm  
Posted by: RoosterCogburn

I have a question.  I was hoping to keep it private, but I guess as a new member, I am not allowed to send messages yet.  First off, I am not sure I set my account up correctly. Want to make it clear that I am not an RPLS, but a Party Chief for the last 17 years with the company I am working for.    I am not going to name the company unless it becomes absolutely necessary, because I am not petty enough to start smearing someones name unless really pushed to do so, and have good cause.

Anyway, I can't seem to find my answer online, and found this link while trying to do so.  My question involves what I believe to be a professional ethics violation.  For several years now, the owner of the company I work for has more or less stepped aside and let the new RPLS take over and start running the show, because the owner who is also an RPLS is planning to retire and sell the company to the new guy.  I am discovering that the new boss is really lacking in honesty and integrity, and he is absolutely hostile about anything that doesn't work according to what he thinks is a well thought out master plan, though he spent a minimum amount of time in the field to experience some of the problems that arise, and how to deal with them.  To the point that I am just about ready to report him to the board, seek legal advice, and then begin my search for a new job.  He lies, he uses others names to get things his way, he cheats the clients on a regular basis.  An example would be, send us to a job to do what should be 2 hours of work, but make us sit there for 8 hours so he can charge them the full day.  Now the clients are starting to catch on, and giving other companies the work, which is putting us employees in jeopardy of having to find new jobs.  He has also on several occasions threatened our job, if we didn't stay and work the extra hour, but without getting compensated for that extra hour in the form of OT or bonuses or anything to make up for it.

My question boils down to, I know what he is doing is definitely unethical, dishonest as well as immoral, and illegal as for the OT, but is it a "professional ethics" violation? 

As I stated earlier, I am not a petty person.  I do not want to just go reporting him, without researching first, and giving him the opportunity to correct his ways. I am an honest person, and I do not like being forced into a situation that makes me look like a dishonest person.  I would rather get fired, then tarnish the good reputation I have built over the years.   

Can you help me answer my question?  Or at least a link to where I can find what I am looking for?  I'm not a youngster any longer, and it is getting harder to find a new and better job when you have the experience I have, due to my age.  I am feeling a bit trapped into a corner.

Thank you in advance for any help, or pointing me in the right direction.

In the situation you describe, I'd get out at the earliest opportunity.  You said that you would rather get fired than have your reputation tarnished by engaging in the fraud your boss wants you to participate in.

If he were to fire you and you had good evidence of his fraudulent practices, he'd be in a heap of trouble not only for those practices, but for retaliation toward you.  He could end up owing you a lot more than wages for time he cheated you out of.

But don't wait around to be fired.  Start looking for other employment now and get out as soon as you can afford to.  A good reputation can be seriously damaged just by association and proximity.  If you stay there for any significant amount of time, the stench of the boss', or the company's bad reputation will be something you will need to overcome with other employers or clients who are aware of the boss's/company's reputation for dishonesty, poor work quality, or whatever.

You also indicate that the outgoing owner has a very good reputation and that you have a good deal of respect for him.  Once you put in your notice, you may want to have a conversation with the outgoing owner to make sure he is aware of what the incoming owner is doing.  The outgoing owner might take exception to the new owner putting the reputation of the company he (outgoing owner) worked so hard to build.  When a retiring owner sells the business they built, rather than just the assets, and especially when they are involved in an extended transition period, include a morals/ethics/reputation clause of some kind whereby the agreement can be terminated if the incoming owner engages in illegal or unethical behavior which has a likelihood of damaging the reputation of the company or the outgoing owner.

Don't concern yourself with giving the new owner a opportunity to correct his ways.  You've described outright fraud that he has enlisted (conscripted is perhaps a better term) his employees to participate in and that he coerces employees to work time for which they won't be paid.  A person who is that corrupt has no interest in correcting his ways so as to behave ethically. 

To a person like that, correcting his ways means changing his methods to make it less likely that he will be caught or turned in by an employee.  One of the first "corrections" a boss like that is apt to make would be to fire the employee who intends to give the boss an opportunity to straighten up before turning him in.   You could find yourself being fired for one of his ethical breaches that he set you up to take the fall for.

Many years ago, I worked for an engineer who was almost as crooked as your new boss.  He insisted that field crews put in a full 8 hour day on site for projects and that travel time to and from the site not be counted as part of that time.  He didn't go so far as to refuse to pay travel time, but did refuse to pay it as OT because it was non-billable.  He did try to change the official place of employment for some employees from the office location to the project location when those employees were working on a fairly long term project that was a little over an hour from the office so that he wouldn't have to pay travel time, but didn't quite have the audacity to force that.

About the time I had made plans to leave, I contacted the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (or whatever it was called at the time) to get some info as to whether his practices were illegal or warranted complaint.  The person on the other end of the phone took some info from me and said something that gave me the impression that they would consider whether a complaint might be warranted and then hit me up for more info.

A few weeks later, I was moving across country to my new job and didn't give the call to the EEOC another thought.  A few months later, I received a check for a few hundred dollars.  I contacted a friend who still worked there and found out that the EEOC had opened an investigation and found multiple serious employee compensation violations.  Some of the clerical staff, who had worked there for many years were paid for previously unpaid OT in amounts well into 5 figures, and most employees received checks ranging from a couple hundred to a few thousand dollars.  Unfortunately, they weren't able to find anything significant as to criminal fraud of clients.  In addition to the compensation he had to pay his past and present employees, he had some sizable fines to pay to the govt., but no criminal charges.

What you describe your boss doing rises to the level of criminal fraud.  Get out before the stink of that ethical feces starts sticking to you.

Evan A. Page, PLS


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