Make sure you have accurate documentation of facts and have reported your issues with the carrier human resource department, EEOC and with law enforcement if you have been subjected to sexual harassment, felt unsafe on a truck with a trainer or co-driver, or have experienced violence at your trucking carrier. Make sure you get a contact number from the law enforcement individual that took your report so you can present a copy when necessary. Do not accept the “we are investigating it” from your carrier as an end result. This is often just a way to get you to go away and delay in following up on the matter yourself. If you felt unsafe and did not file a police report the carrier will most likely turn this around on you to make it seem as though it must not have been very serious, do not skip this step. Do not make threats to the carrier, remain calm and act like a professional but make sure you have created a paper trail in written form using email and fax before you make decisions to get off the truck. Always know the chain of command phone numbers and email addresses so that you can follow-up. Do not just simply deal with one department in your carrier. The safety department rarely communicates to the human resource department so do not accept the word of one person who says the matter has been handled or is being investigated. As soon as you are able you should file a complaint with the EEOC, To delay in filing a complaint helps to make you look untruthful and if you encounter further issues this will work against you. Carriers often drag out their “investigation” with no result for over 120 days, be pro-active and do not wait for them because they often shove the issue under the rug and the offender is integrated back into the driver population without penalty.
Click this link to File a Claim with the EEOC
** Note: Some truck driver training carriers have filters to prevent drivers from getting into executive offices that wish to file a report with the human resource department. This includes directing driver complaints to a “Driver Resource” or “Driver Council” representative. These people are not the human resource department. They are there to screen complaints and sometimes confuse drivers that they have been sent through the proper complaint channels. This acts as a filter to reduce access to leadership in the carrier by screening drivers before allowing them to go directly to the human resource department. We have had some reports that a major carrier has executive offices guarded and only escorted drivers are permitted in the building. In another major training carrier, the executive offices are on a floor that requires a key to the elevator to gain access to upper level leadership. Most drivers are escorted off the property if they attempt to make contact with this level of management. Please report to us when you have this experience with a carrier.
Free Legal Advice: As a truck driver you know it is confusing to figure out how to locate a lawyer and understand which state your case should be filed in. If you have already completed the EEOC complaint process and want to speak to someone to get a lawyer referral you may contact the Equal Rights Advocates 800-839-4372
Are you being pressured to drive from your carrier when you are fatigued? Are you being told to run equipment that is unsafe Make sure you have communicated through the Qualcomm or other written device that you feel unsafe to operate the equipment to your carrier. Keep a copy of the document for your records. Take a picture of replies and your communications to the carrier if it is not in email or fax format. Do not rely on the on-board recorder to be a document to protect you. You can protect yourself under the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) (also known as the truck driver whistleblower protection act) and the fatigued driver section of the FMCSA regulations.
Paul Taylor specializes in trucking employment law , the truck driver whistleblower protection act (STAA) and DAC abuse issues.
Paul Taylor ~ Truckers Justice Center 651.454.5800
California: The law firm of Bobhot and Riles significant case in trucking is the Karen Shank case against CRST Van Expedited where a jury awarded $1.5 Million to the female driver upon hearing the conditions she was expected to endure. This is in contrast to the class action CRST Van Expedited case where several women were prevented from testifying before a jury where the women were represented only by the EEOC.
New York: In 2015, new sex assault allegations against CRST Van Expedited were filed by the law firm of Joshua Friedman Esq. “Courthouse News: CRST Trucking Firm Said to Shrug at Sex Assaults” . The law offices of Joshua Friedman handle all areas of harassment, discrimination. The Law Office of Joshua Friedman Esq. 888-369-1119 Ext: 1
Texas: Erick & Thomas, P.C. Attorneys at Law ~ Casey S. Erick Casey S. Erick focuses on the areas of civil rights, employment disputes, labor violations, and tort and insurance litigation. He has represented individuals, businesses, and governmental entities in various civil matters, and has successfully tried cases throughout Texas and argued before the appellate courts of the state. Mr. Erick graduated cum laude from the University of Mississippi before getting his J.D. in 2002 from the University of Baylor School of Law. He has experience with trucking industry discrimination and other trucking employment litigation issues. Link: 2012 Averitt Sex Discrimination Case
As a truck driver an injury on the job may often occur in another state from where you live or where the carrier maintains a their headquarters. This makes it difficult to understand where to seek help and understand what rights you have. Often injured drivers are manipulated by carriers. Finding a legal representation familiar with the trucking industry “tactics” is important to protect yourself.