Disappearing Working Campers

(a campground owner writes...)

As an employer, I would like to see more info on how RV parks can protect themselves from that 1% of work campers who are less than honest/courteous.

We hired a couple who on their two days off went off site, which is ok, but they never returned and only emailed a "sorry we got called away" hours before they were to be on duty. They have keys, uniforms, etc., which they said they would return but have not.

How do we as employers let other employers know there are rotten apples such as these out there?

Coleen, the working while RVing editor replies:

Thank you for recognizing that the disappearing work camper act is not the norm. Unfortunately, there are bad apples in every group.

Not returning to work when scheduled is one thing. It's rude. It gives working RVers a bad name. It makes it more difficult for the next RVers who want jobs at your campground. But, if they were employees at will, it was probably their choice to make.

Taking things that don't belong to them is another story altogether. Have you filed a police report?

Go to the Workers On Wheels Work for RVers and Campers blog.

Comments for Disappearing Working Campers

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Check the Referances

A Workers On Wheels website visitor comments: One percent is almost zero, but when it happens to you its big!

One option that you have is to check previous references before hiring your candidate.

When a workamper leaves for a weekend with their RV, that is suspicious. Many workampers leave for extended periods of local exploring but usually leave their RV's on site.

Get In Their Pockets with Small Claims Court

Frank P., Sr. comments: Filing a police report won't do much, since the property that they left with isn't valuable enough to entice a police investigation or nation wide manhunt. However a claim for money in your local small claims court would be better. Chances are you will win and get a money judgement against the thieves, and can always attach future assets and wages...wherever they may be.

Charge a Refundable Deposit

A sull-time RVer comments: As a full-time working camper couple, hearing this saddens us, but we have also been in the position of having to take on more work at the job when co-workers leave like this. Charging a returnable deposit at the sign up is an option, (returned after season where uniforms and supplies come back clean and complete) and/or signing a return agreement. We enjoy jobs where uniforms are provided.

Some Employers Change the Terms

I have found in two out of three assignments I accepted tge working and living conditions were NOT as described or discussed prior to my traveling to the location.
Upon arrival I found a decrepit "spot" forked my RV in dirt with no hookups and rather than being an " assistant innkeeper" they put me to work cleaning rooms?
Sadly, this forced me to resign but interestingly the couple before me fled without notice.
Big red flag for me as a worker:(

Employee Just Walked Out!

My comment doesn't regard camping but is very similar to the original posting. My wife and I for 20 years owned and operated a bar / restaurant. 1 day, our full time daytime bartender exclaims "I can't handle this" in the bar, slaps her key down and walks out with patrons in the place! There was no animosity between us and she was doing an acceptable job. Fortunately we live in a house several hundred feet from the bar. A patron walked to our home and alerted my wife. Amazing what some people will do- specifically disregard others!

What Happened

I disagree about be "shady" taking your Rv on your days off. We had 4 days off and informed the owner we were leaving and would be back in 3 days. We did come back. We also like uniforms at least shirts and at one campground had us sign a form if they were not returned the cost would be taken out of our last check. This is true with most businesses not just campgrounds. As far as reference checks you might get impeccable response but sometimes things do happen. So as Coleen pointed out jobs are "at will" with that said the situation can go either way. I hope all is well with the couple. I have been in HR for years and have seen it all. You can’t take it personal or out on the next person.

Other Side of the Scenario

I just read the article about how work campers leave and don’t come back but what about the RV years that work themselves to death and when the problems are all sold at the park they let you go and bring in friends of theirs that they use every year. Also there’s been situations where the owner sold the place and the new owner brought his own people in . There are also RV parks that do this all the time and no longer will I work for the smaller places which are more enjoyable than the large ones done with it never go back

Except the policy is below but I’m doing this from my phone and it will allow me to check those boxes

Security Deposit Works

My wife and I worked for 7 years in a western National park. We worked for a concessionaire and had to pay a security deposit each year. I found from those seven years that people who have their own money $$$ tied up they are less likely to bail. Most people who work are working for the little bit of perk that extra money provides. Always be upfront about the jobs, housing, and in your case the security deposit,,,,I think you will have HAPPY workers.

Civil Does Not Preclude Criminal

Civil Small Claims Court does not preclude filing Criminal Charges against an individual. The fact that a Criminal Warrant is out on someone, discovered during a background check, may prevent their continued work in the industry and would would seem to me to benefit any campground who might contemplate hiring this individual. The Civil Matter would help and in some cases might be more punitive, depending upon the jurisdiction.

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