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Company Training and Non-Compete

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Dart's Comment
member avatar

If any of you have seen my training diary, I explained the situation in detail there. For simplicity's sake, I'll give a brief rundown of it here before I ask my question.

Back in July, I attended Roehl's Get Your CDL program and earned my CDL. Throughout the month of August I was with a few trainers on the road. Yesterday I was let go and told that they felt the issues I was having were going to take longer than they wanted to put into me to fix.

Even though I have gripes about why I was let go, that's not what I'm going to do.

Problem is, I'm now on the hook for $5,000 for the training and have little money and no job. I've also read on other trucking forums about training companies preventing one of their former students who got their CDL through them from going to another company.

I signed the contract and cannot dispute the money...that's on me, and that's not what my question here is. I did not see a non-compete clause in the contract.

My question is...Could this potentially derail my trucking career before it even really gets started because of the training contract I signed with Roehl?

I've already put in an application with the company I wanted to go with all along, but I opted not to go that route initially due to my situation and the company's requirement of having a CDL in hand. If this company does not pan out, I will use the application tool on this site.

Thank you in advance.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Bill F.'s Comment
member avatar

Easiest would be to call Roehl and ask them if there is any non compete language in the contract. I can't imagine they would lie to you. But it is possible the person you ask does not know and gives you incorrect information. Call and talk to their legal department, and have them give you that information in an email.

Firehog's Comment
member avatar

To quantify i have 30 years business ownership experience with non compete clauses. It does not matter what the clause says because they can write anything they want, the question is can they enforce what they wrote.

If they terminate you then you are released from the non compete clause. It only applies if you quit. If your State is a right to work state then it is not even enforceable if you quit. Call your unemployment office in your state and they can tell you if you are in a right to work state. With that said if you owe them money until it is paid most companies will inform others of that and good chance you will not get hired.

A non complete clause is mainly enforced when it is a business relation ship and you sold that right as independant business person for monetary amount. Example i sold my company for $ amount anf in that contract part of that payment was to not compete within 100 miles for 3 years, very specific and enforcable in that case.

I worked with business owners in my field in all 50 states and non of them ever won an enforcement of a non complete cause on a employee. It was subject at every meeting for 30 years.

Hope it helps

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Could this potentially derail my trucking career before it even really gets started because of the training contract I signed with Roehl?

No, it can not. Your trucking career will continue forward. And Firehog is right:

If they terminate you then you are released from the non compete clause

Don't worry about any sort of non-compete thing.

What I'm concerned about is the nature of the situation. I read your training diary. I'd like to get a little more information from you about this situation.

The way you're describing it is that you had only been there a short time and they let you go for what seem to be normal rookie quirks. You followed too closely and took some ramps a little too quickly. You said you were told that the problems you were having were going to take too long to fix, so they let you go. And yet you still owe the money for training.

The math on that situation doesn't add up.

If they trained you and you decided to quit without fulfilling the contract, you would certainly be on the hook for the tuition. But that's not what happened.

If you finished the training and then they figured out in short order that you were blatantly careless, unsafe, and seemingly incapable or unwilling to do what it takes to become a safe, professional driver I could see them firing you and expecting the tuition payment. But from what you're saying, that's not what happened.

From your brief description it seems like you had a couple of minor discretions, no accidents of any sort, and no run-ins with anyone and yet they fired you, almost out of the blue.

I noticed another driver that responded to your post said he was fired from there because he was having trouble shifting.

I'd like to get the real scoop on this. Were you fired for good reason? Or were you fired for what seem to be very minor and easily fixable concerns? Historically I've found that drivers tend to share about 20% of the whole truth. I'd like to get 100% of the whole truth here because I want to make sure companies aren't letting people go without good cause.

These companies aren't in the training business, they're in the trucking business. They need drivers badly. So it seems odd they would let new drivers go for little quirks that are totally normal for new drivers. Like I said, the math at this point doesn't add up so I'd like to learn more about this situation.

Dart's Comment
member avatar

Brett,

The only thing I didn't share was that there were 2 instances where I had close calls with parked trailers. I came within inches of the parked trailer both times with my trailer. I was watching my mirrors and going slow enough to see it and respond by either stopping and backing up to go another way around (I had a misjudgment in distance between the trailer and another obstacle), or holding to the left a bit longer (in a truck stop and another truck was on the other side of the corner waiting for me to come around).

My 1st and 3rd trainer both felt I would be successful with the company. My 3rd trainer said that to me even after my close call tih the trailer at a truck stop. This trainer was almost positive that they were going to put me with a local trainer to finish out my 5 "solo" loads (loads where I do everything and the trainer is just there to answer questions if need be).

With my 2nd trainer, everything was at a very fast pace, which I felt was detrimental to my training. I would back off the throttle for a corner that I could not "read" due to lack of experience, to which he would ask me why I was backing off and yave me get back on the throttle. I would do the computer or paperwork and be rushed to get it done, when I slowed down to think about what I needed to do next or make a mistake on this due to rushing thriugh it, he would take over the paperwork/computer work. He would tell me to maintain a shorter following distance than company policy (4-5 seconds when company policy is 7), would get on me for slowing down for an off ramp before we reached the off ramp (signal on and was staying above minimum legal speed for the road until pulling into the off ramp's turn lane), then get on me if I waited to slow down until the off ramp turn lane and had to brake harder to ensure a safe exit speed. All of this had me confused until I was with my 3rd trainer for about 3 or 4 days. I mentioned these concerns to my fleet training manager.

As a side note, I just got off the phone with Melton and was told that they would not be able to hire me due to "safety concerns".

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I just can't make sense of that. If you didn't hit anything and you weren't getting in fights with anyone then it doesn't make sense that they would let you go. No one catches on quickly in trucking. It takes quite a long time to become good at this.

Did you get your CDL while you were there?

Have you checked your DAC to see what they put on there?

How long were you actually with the company?

Did they tell you that you owe them the tuition money?

I'm just trying to get my head around this. I can't fathom that anyone would be let go without any actual safety violations or blatant transgressions.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

Dart's Comment
member avatar

I never hit anything, nor did I get any tickets.

I never argued with anyone, though there were several times with the 2nd trainer that I wanted to. In those instances I would just bite my tongue and do my best to let it roll off of my back.

Including time at the CDL school, I was with the company for just over 2 months. I did receive my CDL during this time and now that I'm home, I have the hard copy in my wallet now.

I was never directly told that I owe them money, but the wording in my contract is such that I do owe them the $5,000 for training. They also took some of it out of my last paycheck, leaving me with essentially a no pay due.

I have not checked my DAC report. I don't even know how to do so. Maybe a quick Google search will provide me with the answer. I'll do that and post back here.

I've been talking to a long time friend of mine who's an O/O with Swift and is about to get his mentor certificate next week. If nothing else comes up, I will likely go that route and train with him...provided I could even get hired.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Dart's Comment
member avatar

I also filled out the application here on TT. Hoping I'll get something back on that soon.

Han Solo Cup's Comment
member avatar

I'm with Brett here. Something like this needs to be run to ground as it can cause some "discomfort" with trainees and guys like myself who are in the considering stage. I'm a mid 40s dad and I've been through a ton of crap in my life so something like this isn't going to scare me away on it's own. But still... it doesn't help to have nagging little bits like "let go because of vague safety concerns" on the horizon. Brett has also nailed it (many times) that we likely hear less than half the truth and usually only what supports the one side of the story. There's got to be more and, if you're already let go, then just spill the beans. It's not like they can add to their report.

I'd also like to know stuff like:

- did you respond to the Roehl accusations with your own report regarding trainer 2 encouraging unsafe practices, - did you Qualcomm any of your concerns while on the road so as to have a history of notifying management about these practices, and - can you get trainers 1 and 3 to come to your defense?

I appreciate your candor; please consider expanding on your comments and what Brett has asked. Thanks.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.
Dart's Comment
member avatar

I've said everything about it there is to tell. Only other thing is another student who went to the same terminal I did for CDL training, but started 2 weeks later, who was let go on Friday for the same reasons.

I did not send any messages regarding this over the TruckPC (what Roehl uses instead of Qualcomm). I spoke with my Fleet Training Manager about it on the phone on at least 2 separate occasions that I can recall. In her mind it boiled down to a "he said, she said".

My 3rd trainer told me when I got off of his truck on Saturday that he would contact my FTM on Monday to tell her that I had greatly improved since he last spoke with her. Both my 1st and 3rd trainers told me on several occasions that I would be successful with the company and had nothing to worry about.

I'm thinking (and this is 100% assumption) that my 2nd trainer has said things about me that are not true and/or embellished and I have not been told what was said.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.
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