Arrow Trucking Co. faces a lawsuit alleging unpaid wages and violation of a federal law requiring businesses to give advance notice of closing.
On Dec. 28, a class action complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma by at least 30 former employees of the more than 60-year-old company, which closed without warning Dec. 21. They seek compensation under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which requires employers of companies with more than 100 employees to provide 60 days notice of a shutdown. Violators can be sued for two months of pay per employee.
The complaint also alleges the company failed to fund fuel cards and bounced employee paychecks in December. Plaintiffs also charge Arrow failed to forward premiums to insurance carriers, even though they deducted them from paychecks, and did not reimburse out-of-pocket expenses.
Plaintiff Attorney Charles Ercole said his preliminary investigation indicates claims for the class could reach $15 million.
“This is the most egregious violation of the WARN Act and state wage payment laws that I have seen in my practice,” Ercole said. “The hardship imposed on these employees is outrageous and we intend to vigorously prosecute this action.”
An attorney representing Arrow did not return a request for comment. Company officials have been unavailable for comment, though this prepared statement from CEO Doug Pielsticker was widely reported last week:
“The company has been in negotiations with its principal lender. Those negotiations are continuing, but the lender has elected to proceed with securing its collateral. The company is communicating with several interested parties and continues to seek a prompt resolution.”
A statement from Daimler Truck Financial says it provides financing for the majority of Arrow’s fleet.
When the shutdown began, Arrow took down its website and left a recorded phone message telling drivers to drop off their trucks at Daimler or International dealerships. Those truck makers, as well as many carriers and individuals, offered to help truckers get home last week.