DEAR CARRIE: My son has a job making deliveries for a company using its commercial vehicle. He was never instructed not to go on highways where commercial vehicles are not allowed. Well, he went on the Northern State Parkway and was pulled over and fined $525. The company at first said it would consider paying the fine but then told him he was responsible for the entire amount. Is he responsible for this fine? -- Drive Fine
DEAR DRIVE: Unfortunately, he is responsible, an employment attorney said. That’s because the ticket was issued against him, rather than against the vehicle, as is the case with red-light-camera infractions.
“The ticket was issued against the driver, not the company, and so the driver is responsible for paying it,” said employment attorney Richard Kass, a partner at Bond, Schoeneck & King in Manhattan.
I think the responsibility here runs two ways. The company probably needs to do a better job of informing its young drivers about what to expect on Long Island roads, and, of course, it’s important for drivers to be attentive to traffic signs.
In the meantime, perhaps your son could gingerly ask the company for help toward paying the fine since a $525 ticket would probably blow a gaping hole in most young people’s finances.
DEAR READERS: Last week's Help Wanted column, about an employee who didn’t return his former employer’s T-shirts and key fob after promising several times to leave them outside on his deck, drew several responses from readers, all in support of the worker who was recovering from prostate cancer. I believe such feedback is invaluable to this column. At the same time, if the former employee couldn’t keep his promises to leave the items outside for pickup, he should have said that he couldn’t deal with the issue right now, if that was the case. And I wouldn’t presume to judge the value of the items to the business. Here are some of the responses:
DEAR CARRIE: I have come to expect practical expert advice to readers’ questions. I was floored by your judgmental response to the employer who although she "sympathized with his predicament" was over-the-top concerned about the return of a used key fob and some work shirts. The former employee was being treated for cancer. Do you think this person may have had a few other things on his mind? I don’t know all the details, of course, but is it possible that he was a little upset that he lived nearby and the primary concern was not his well-being? Being badgered about these objects of minor value is [no] way to treat another human being. You labeled this person a ''problem employee.'' Really? The thought that an employer would consider holding back necessary information about earned legal disability payments in order to get these objects back is indefensible. You really missed the boat on this one. Very disappointing.
DEAR CARRIE: As someone who has supervised countless numbers of people over the years, I enjoy reading your Newsday column. However, I must take issue with your response to ''Unreturned Property.''
That individual was concerned about getting back some tees, sweats and a key fob from a worker who had cancer, and who probably was more concerned about his own mortality. These are minor clothing items (probably used clothing) that most likely were reminders to the cancer victim of better times and a productive job. Your response about a possible lawsuit is completely inappropriate. Instead, you should have chastised your writer for being so petty and uncaring. Employers need to take into account the circumstances of their employees in making any decision. You should be ashamed of your response.