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

 

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.

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