Carrier ordered to pay back wages, rehire driver fired for refusing to drive over hours

| July 25, 2013

A federal agency has ordered a Massachusetts carrier pay a driver $131,533 after firing him for refusing to drive after reaching the federal limit on hours.

On July 23, the U.S. Department of Labor announced it had directed Brillo Motor Transportation of Marlborough to pay the driver $96,864 in back wages and interest, $9,669 in compensatory damages and $25,000 in punitive damages. It also requires Brillo and its owner Chuck Cappello to rehire the driver discharged in 2010.

Additionally, the agency ordered the three-truck company pay reasonable attorney’s fees for the driver and expunge any adverse references relating to the termination from his personnel file. The department does not release names of employees involved in whistle-blower complaints.

Brillo did not immediately respond to request for comment.

An investigation by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined the carrier violated the Surface Transportation Assistance Act. This law prohibits discrimination against employees who refuse to operate a vehicle in violation of commercial motor vehicle safety.

The company may file objections or request a hearing before the department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges within 30 days of receiving the order.

  • martymarsh

    This is great, all of the big companies want this law and that law, and I’m sure a guy with 3 trucks don’t want any laws. But this is going to be the outcome in the near future, you are going to have to hire twice as many drivers to do the work that half of them use to do. The really really great part is you can’t do that because you don’t pay enough. Why should people live on the road for McDonalds pay. LMAO, doing back flips, and I’m beside myself, oh no that is my twin brother.
    Yes siree Bob, run us in to the ground.

  • Brent Hedlund

    Now this company is forced to hire him back they are going to treat him like a red-headed step-child. They will make his life a living hell. Dispatch around him and leave him sitting and only give him the worst loads..

  • now how it is

    In response to martymarsh;
    I understand about hours but You have to understand companies pay is based on what they get paid to haul freight.. i own a Trucking business and I tell you by the time I pay bills and operating expenses the only thing left is roughly enough to pay Driver. If drivers pay needs to go up then RATES need to go UP!! Until we get all these Imigrants(Nice name to call them) out of trucks working for peanuts and don’t care about a home or family and live in truck because they have no home then this won’t change…. We need US Government back in to regulate rates back when they were drivers got a better deal and products were reasonably priced!!!

  • Red

    How many drivers are saying, damn wish I had done that?

  • Joe Smith

    No Brent, not if they have any sense. But if they had any sense they would not have fired him in the 1st place for refusing to run hot. Has the DOT auditor shown up at the door yet?

  • Jason

    I really wish you whiney babies would just leave this industry. I make plenty of money and pay my drivers fair. I have to shut them down so they don’t get me in trouble.

  • Hellbent

    I’m extremely happy for the driver. Suing is not a cheap undertaking. He got fired and was still able to sacrifice and afford to sue and had enough evidence to prove his case. I think all drivers need to know the full story, transcript and details of this case and use that same strategy on any company that try to bully drivers into breaking the rules. That 3 truck company picked the wrong one to push around. I own a 4 truck company and if I lose a $130,000 law suit and the insurance company don’t cover it I would have to file chapter 7 bankruptcy and shut it down and start over.

  • easy454

    it”s about time a driver stood his ground cause when your boss wants the load delivered no matter what when ya get popped who pays the fine, it damn sure aint your sorry ass boss is it !!!!!!!!

  • easy454

    thousands and how many have threatened to do that very same thing

  • easy454

    you have hit the nail on the head . amen

  • unwildbill

    MAYBE he’ll see half of it in 10 yrs or so!

  • John Doe, just another number

    It is sad that it had to go to a federal court in order to get taken care of. This tells me that the system is failing miserably. By the time it reaches the federal court, years could have passed. I know companies that haul radioactive waste and go over on their hours daily right in front of the DOT. I ran with this company and told them I wasn’t running illegally anymore. They told me if I didn’t want to drive, they would find someone else to do it.

  • martymarsh

    Hey chief, you are singing to the choir, I’ve been at this for 39 years. I personally have no problem running until I’m there, I have said a thousands times you can’t regulate rest. With that said, we know for a fact that everything is about the dollar, but yet we still put up with it. It is the big carriers and government trying to put the little guys out of business. Of course then you have some people like this guy worked for, no matter how long you run enough is never enough, I have worked for plenty of them myself.
    As far as the immigrants, when we started seeing them there was an ugly method to their madness, they again being government and the big carriers. It is much easier to immigrate to this country if you have a skill we need, so all you have to do is write truck driver on your immigration application and your in.
    Don’t you see, everything is to get all of us working for peanuts, only it is all going to bite them right in the ass.
    As this man proved, you want regulation up the gazoo, here you are.
    As far as your operation, I have no idea what you do or how much you pay your drivers, but I have heard your story before. I have driven for folks with the same story that always had a brand new car and all of the toys with a big house, while I didn’t even have a car, and my wife and kids where living with my in-laws and I was living in a truck. After all of this time it is a little hard to drum up any sympathy, but you might try your congressman, because I can’t do a thing for you.
    I am not here to put anyone out of business, but between the drivers and owners, I have to stick with the drivers, that’s what I am.

  • martymarsh

    Couldn’t agree more.

  • martymarsh

    Jason, go to work for someone like England for a week and come back and say that. If everything is as you say then you have no horse in this race, do you?

  • mike

    he won’t see it with three truck trucking company. Bankrupt the co.

  • Bill

    Driver needs to know how to log legal and drive legal and there will not be any issues. : )

  • Bill

    Good thing the company is not based in NC. He could be fired because be didn’t take a bath with no issue. : ) Right to work is best.

  • little bobby

    Maybe it is time for action close America down for a week, demand better money, better life, any truck that runs gets shut down. Let little Johnny go with out let America cry it is time to take back our lives, our future. O/O or Company driver we all live the same life lets make it better for us, our family’s, and our future. Embrace all the government rule’s and demand the money that is needed to have this kind of life (service) you should be paid 24/7 with expense’s the minute you get in the truck. It’s our future lets make it happen lets set a date for our tomorrow.

  • Saddles Baggett

    do like we do say NO to cheep freight….I make sure my guys get enough money that they can sit and the do sit till the money is right.

  • MD

    The companies are going to catch on if they allready have not done so. When you deliver a load, they will tell you to go too the next shipper, but before you do, how many hours do you have left to drive. If you make one small discrepancy in a 15 minute increment, they have fuel to fire you. Be careful and know your numbers.


    My thoughts exactly Joe, Ive run hot for plenty of years (25 and counting in the buisness and several times do it LEGALLY for FEMA !!) They should have kept him and let him run the way he wanted. Cause at least they’d have one good set of books to throw out in the event of an audit … and if he really knew what he was doing he shouldve kept running and use the whistle blower crap to slow the company down !! My last thought would be why did he take the job in the first place ? (I realize running hard aint for everybody but please, he had to know what he was signing up for when he took the job !!)

  • David S. McQueen

    According to the story, it wasn’t a federal court that directed the company to pay, it was the US Dept. of Labor. I didn’t know that any federal agency could “order” a private company to pay money without due process of law (i.e., a lawsuit).

  • Andrea Sitler PhD DsC

    The driver will never see the money but at least a precedent is being set. The driver would be a fool to go back to work for them. We all know they would take revenge on him and just run him out or starve him out. Then what was put on the record would stick. ELD (EOBRs) should cure this issue in the very near future. The problem is that pay has not kept up with the times. Most drivers cannot afford to run legal and that is why there are violations as much as via dispatch pressure. The entire industry needs a revamp with a new way of addressing pay, HOS, safety, shippers and rec. and general operations. Time to catch up with the 21st century instead of still truckin’ like our great granddad’s did.

  • No Reform

    This treatment of drivers has been ongoing for 40 years…has something changed in the minds of Greedy Pig company owners??? Dispatchers will ABUSE and THREATEN the driver is he does not Obey these tyrants..nothing new.

  • Adrian Alexander

    I know that if we don’t set limits some of these companies really abuse drivers, but to all of you who side with the driver, I’d like to ask you if you never cheated on your log, kind of like if you are free of sin cast the first stone. I’ve been driving for 29 years (own trucks for 20), then again, I never complained for not having A/C or power steering either.

  • Michael Bechara

    I’ve been saying this for years we need pro pay for pro’s work stand up drivers and demand your pro pay !

  • Michael Bechara

    Driver =slave …GET with it guys DEMAND MORE MONEY !

  • Jason

    Huh? You’re right I don’t own any horses. However, I chose a long time ago after doing my 2 starter years at Covered Nuts, to get my own authority and trucks. I see all over these discussions nothing but a bunch of moaning and groaning. If you really want to “shut down” the big guys then become more little guys. It’s not that hard. As far as this lawsuit, good on the driver for suing the pants off this company. And same goes to the Muslim (or any religious guy) that doesn’t want to haul freight that is against their beliefs. Ya’ll just need to act instead of react on some silly magazine discussion board.

  • martymarsh

    Well it should be obvious that it all has to start somewhere unless you are going to come over to my house and discuss it.

  • Jason

    WTF? Anytime truck driver. Loser.

  • martymarsh

    LMAO, loser? You didn’t get that at all and you call me a loser, how could you possibly make money running a trucking company?
    But I will make is easier on you. I said, it should be obvious that it all has to start somewhere. Now before you read it slow, go back and read our whole conversation.

  • Keith Fisher

    Unfortunately all the Dispatcher has to do is average out the hours and speed and adjust the HOS to match in the EOBR software. Thus forcing the driver to have more hours than he did legally. After that they will phone him and text him every 15 minutes until he complies to their will. This currently happens all the time but no one cares not even the government.

  • Robert

    Try the EPA, OSHA and all the others.

  • Robert

    So, what’s your point?

  • kw6238b

    There was an issue in this case, and it is what the lawsuit was about. The driver said he wasn’t going to run illegal and was fired for it.

  • Robert

    The driver WILL see his money. If he had the balls to file suit he will pursue it to the end. We grandfathers now are getting some laws with some teeth in the 21st century. It just took a lot of time to get here.

  • Robert

    With an attitude like yours, I would also file a suit against you personally knowing your attitude. Then try getting financing with all kinds of suits against you and yours.

  • Robert

    Ever try paying them a living wage?

  • Robert

    Well yes and no. I would go back to work for the same employer if nothing else to take notes. Does the name “Snowden” ring any bells?

  • David S. McQueen

    For one thing, OSHA is part of the Dept. of Labor. Have you heard of the 14th Amendment? Do you even understand our government or how it is organized?

  • David S. McQueen

    Jason, it’s called “free speech”. And it’s still free EVEN IF YOU DON”T AGREE WITH IT! We all are free to choose our own paths and to speak our own opinions; your opinions are just as “wrong” as those opinions you disparage.

  • Robert

    It is abundantly apparent you have the ability to read, but cannot comprehend what you see in front of you. Try reading it again, slowly, because I typed it slowly just for you.

  • Hellbent706

    Wow! So that’s your plan… to make money using a “Get Broke Quick” scheme? Go right ahead Robert. File as many suits against me as you can afford to lose. Misery loves company. You’ll go broke just like me and I wont feel alone. If you can read you would know that I’m already financially destitute. I cant afford to mess over my drivers. They get paid well while I get what’s left if anything. You’ll make more money driving your truck one day a week. Lol!!! You really do need a better plan to make money.

  • Outsidelookinggrin

    I agree with you fully but it ain’t going to happen and trucking companies know it. Just watch our behavior (not all) and interaction towards each other at truck stops and terminals.

  • truth hurts

    spoken like a true dispatcher…

  • guest

    Yep these COPS are demanding all these Restrictions..we need to see a RAISE in Income……nobody can stay in COMPLIANCE as it is today without MONEY to upgrade equipment to BRAND NEW…and STOP drivers from driving at the alotted time???? How the hell do we run trucks and stay in business??? strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.