Martinez haunted house workers expected pay; owner says they were volunteers

Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011 7:44 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011 12:07 AM
  • Follow Business

About 70 employees claiming they weren’t compensated for work at a Mar­tin­ez haunted house met Monday to vent their frustrations and form a plan to get paid.

The workers, mostly teens, worked at Terror Town, a haunted house on Wheeler Road, from late September through Oct. 31.

“I’m tired of being lied to,” Cat Spargo, 15, said.

The teens were under the impression they signed contracts to be paid $10 per hour with bonuses offered when the haunted house served 10,000 and 15,000 guests.

Owner Jimmy Collier said the signed contracts state the staff worked on a volunteer basis.

“It clearly says in the paperwork that I have, it never mentions in there that they were going to get an hourly pay,” said Collier, who lives in Las Vegas and left managing the day-to-day operations to Rob Rampulla. “I don’t know anything about an hourly wage. … The contracts clearly say they are there on a volunteer basis.”

The haunted house was a private enterprise. However, Collier said using a volunteer staff is a common practice for haunted houses.

Collier alleges that someone must have told the teens they’d be paid.

According to the staffers, they were supposed to be paid Friday.

Georgia Department of Labor Com­mu­nications Director Sam Hall said his agency received a complaint about Terror Town on Tuesday. The caller, the parent of a teen staff member, claimed teens as young as 14 were working up to eight hours each day at Terror Town. The caller claimed the workers had not received promised wages and that none of the underage staff members had work permits.

Hall said his office has no record of issuing work permits for Terror Town. According to state law, teens ages 13-16 need work permits. Those ages 17-18 need permits to show they are older than 16 to work between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Collier said he didn’t require permits because he believed none were required for volunteers.

Cristal Davis, whose 17-year-old daughter worked at Terror Town, said she’s contacted an attorney about the issue and plans to take action against Collier for not paying the workers.

Collier said he did intend to present a gift as compensation to the volunteers who fulfilled their obligations by working each night of the haunted house.

Comments (10) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 11/15/11 - 08:56 pm
0
0
Wow... what a mess!

Wow... what a mess!

augusta citizen
9317
Points
augusta citizen 11/15/11 - 09:12 pm
0
0
Well there are some basic

Well there are some basic questions that need to be answered. How were these kids recruited? Word of mouth, advertisements? Also were they required to sign waivers as reported by another source? Some one either promised them wages or wages were advertised, because this was quite a bit of labor and it didn't get recruited without some kind of paper trail or a person interviewing them. If the schedules were set up in a manner that covered the jobs and needs, there was some foresight put into it. Seems that Mr. Collier hasn't given enough answers or hasn't been questioned enough.

Riverman1
83681
Points
Riverman1 11/15/11 - 09:15 pm
0
0
Sheriff Whittle should raid

Sheriff Whittle should raid the place and arrest these people who take advantage of these workers who are working off the grid. Ha, an argument for Diaz....the Mexicans were volunteer workers.

bclicious
718
Points
bclicious 11/15/11 - 11:22 pm
0
0
Man, I hate to say it guys,

Man, I hate to say it guys, but it appears that this guy has his ducks in a row. If he has those contracts, those kids are screwed. My only advice to the teens would be that you should read everything before you sign it, and always seek advice from others before you sign something that you don't understand.

Unfortunately, verbal agreements are not enforceable under Georgia Law. Sorry guys.

With that, if the greater Columbia County and Richmond County communities feel as though that this guy is being a scumbag, just don't give this particular haunted house any business next year.

END OF STORY.

LocalLawyer
317
Points
LocalLawyer 11/15/11 - 11:53 pm
0
0
That is not entirely true

That is not entirely true Bclicious. Verbal contracts are enforceable under Georgia law so long as they do not violate the statute of frauds (this would not). My question is why did he need a contract if he wasn't going to pay them? Contracts enforce bargained for exchange. What was the employer's consideration for the children volunteering? A promise of a gift is not a contract because gifts are optional. This guy sounds like a total sheister. Hope they sue.

sugarbutton
881
Points
sugarbutton 11/15/11 - 11:57 pm
0
0
NO, it's not the end of the

NO, it's not the end of the story when several of the workers that were told they were receiving wages had families they were trying to support. These people picked the most desperate and the least likely to follow through to work. These people gave out names, addresses and social security numbers and were absolutely told they would be paid. 70 employees did NOT lie. As far as I'm concerned the owner and managers are liars, cheats and thieves. When someone is already down and out they get sucked in by the lowest individuals that really think they have their ducks in a row. I pray an atty will come forward and help these people who were duped by these individuals. Anyone that stands up and boasts your corruptnes for you is as guilty as you are. The people I know that worked there weren't Mexicans...and even if they were, if they worked you need to get off your throne and pay them immediately. Shame on you!

my.voice
4808
Points
my.voice 11/16/11 - 10:05 am
0
0
Why pay a ghost?

Why pay a ghost?

poolmom
49
Points
poolmom 11/16/11 - 02:22 pm
0
0
Justice will prevail. Even if

Justice will prevail. Even if we have to visit Las Vegas!

Jake
32522
Points
Jake 11/16/11 - 03:58 pm
0
0
Las Vegas........'nuff said.

Las Vegas........'nuff said.

0
Points
augustagolfgirl 11/17/11 - 11:01 am
0
0
70 kids to volunteer for

70 kids to volunteer for hours daily for over a month at something that was charing a fee??? I think not. Where's all 70 signed documents with the kids' signature and their parents' signatures? This sounds like two guys taking advantage of some kids. We as a community need to stand up for these kids and 1) make sure there's nothing we can do to help & 2) make sure Terror Town never does business in Augusta again.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs