New Prime Inc. ordered to pay $100k to driver it allegedly retaliated against

| January 08, 2014

primeNew Prime Inc., part of mega fleet Prime Inc., has been ordered by the Labor Department to pay a former driver $100,000 in back wages and damages after the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration deemed it submitted damaging information about the driver in retaliation. 

According to an OSHA announcement released this week, the Springfield, Mo.-based fleet violated provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act when it submitted “damaging and misleading information about [the driver's] employment” to the Drive-A-Check Report pre-employment and drug testing screening service. 

Related

Trucker who refused to drive awarded back wages, fleet ordered to stop retaliation

Oak Harbor Freight Lines has been ordered by OSHA to pay a former driver back wages and to stop an attendance policy that the department says retaliates against drivers who refuse to drive due to safety reasons.

The OSHA announcement says the driver told the carrier in October 2008 that he had hurt his back on the job and could not drive because he was taking prescription medicine for it. By July 2009, the driver, whose name OSHA did not release, had recovered and was cleared by his doctor to return to work, OSHA says. 

He sought employment elsewhere, however, and opted not to return to Prime. The driver then learned, OSHA said, that New Prime submitted bad information on his employment history to DAC. He then filed a complaint with OSHA, which spurred the investigation. 

Prime spokesman Clayton Brown says the carrier has appealed the ruling. “Prime’s policy is to not comment on pending litigation.  Prime is appealing this investigative finding and litigation will begin shortly.  The next step is to have a trial on the merits.”

The breakdown of the $100,000 is: $41,373 for lost wages, with interest, between July 1, 2009, and April 1, 2010; $40,000 in compensatory damages for pain, suffering, emotional distress and loss of home and property; and $20,000 in punitive damages “in light of the company’s reckless and callous disregard for the worker’s rights under the STAA,” according to OSHA’s announcement.

The carrier also must expunge the driver’s employment and DAC Report records of the information they submitted. 

STAA protects drivers from retaliatory action by carriers if they refuse to drive due to safety concerns. 

“Blacklisting an employee and sabotaging a worker’s career is unacceptable. It can have a dangerous ripple effect if employees are compelled to drive when unwell or under medication because they are afraid they will lose their livelihood,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York, whose offices conducted the investigation. “OSHA will not tolerate employers retaliating against its employees for reporting violations, including forcing employees to operate commercial motor vehicles when doing so would be unsafe for the driver and the public.”

  • Mind Games

    Phrase the lord!!! About time a section of our government that has not been bought off like the members of other branches of our so-called government have been finally done something good and decent for a change.
    What’s the matter prime lobbyist can’t walk into OSHA and do ya dirty work for ya? Aye???
    This has to stop people and to tell he truth its long overdue!!! Thousands of drivers have and continue to be blackballed every damn day and because elected officials who continue to suck on the worm refuse to stop this practice we must continue to fight in the courts and or in local levels till some people get the message.
    Over at” open secrets . org” you can find out which one of your elected officials like to suck on the worms like catfish and trust me they won’t stop till we keep throwing them back till we fish up ones that will keep the worms out their mouths.

  • g

    Black Balling truck drivers by unscrupulous Carriers has been going on Forever! These people act like its NEW???? Companies routinely terminate drivers who wont falsify logs to deliver On TIME too….These people are ACTING as if this is something NEW??? Something “unacceptable”??? It is as common as the wheel in trucking AND they Know it.

  • Jerry

    Humorous that Prime Management believed the facts did not merit to be presented on the drivers DAC. i.e. ordered to pay back wages, compensatory & punitive damages.

    Myself, I would be marketing my Carriers virtues to the driver by what I can do to strengthen the drivers recovery, like installing a BOSE Seat, ($6,000). Versus idle spiteful talk, calculated to hurt the driver.

    (New Semi Trucks are not cheap to be having this mystery truck payment. While the driver works another Carriers equipment.)

  • relaxing driver

    About time its been going on forever companies get mad and screws with a drivers dac so he cant drive again just because they are pissed off . I know alot of big companies puts things on drivers dac if the driver doesnt do what they are told to do. truckdrivers need to stand together and make the goverment stop big companies from doin it.

  • Jim Kennedy

    40 K for loss of home n property??? I wonder if those Prime executives, if they had lost their ability to earn wages n subsequently lost home/property, would 40K really mean anything? 100K is nothing. Not to mention the fact that the company can appeal. Shame on this company and any like it. There’s more to this problem than what’s being said though. From what I’m seeing, you’ve got workers who choose to not work for whatever company (that company passes along dis-information), this snowballs when the 3rd party (DAC or whomever) reports misinformation discrediting the driver from potential earning sources?? Both parties should be held accountable (the first for reporting bad info, the second for not following up or checking the source). What ever happened to integrity not only by companies but also by credit companies or referral companies?

  • Veronics

    SO WHO STICKS UP FOR THE EMPLOYER WHO GETS TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF WITH FAKE WORKERS COMP CLAIMS?!!! it’s a 2 way street

  • William McKelvie

    ORDERED TO PAY ……….. one thing, ACTUAL PAYMENT …….. something TOTALLY DIFFERENT. Not a victory until they ACTUALLY pay. And they will probably offer a settlement many times before actually paying the actual amount. Happens all the time. Nothing to brag about, nothing to applaud until they have the CASH in hand.

  • Michael Stillwagner

    wow! my terminal manager treated me like shit at Gainey Transportation Services and fired me over an accident i was found not to be at fault for, i tried to file unemployment in the state of Virginia where i live and was denied due to GTS slandering me then i couldnt find work for 6 months. why couldnt i get a paycheck like that?

  • Mean

    Although I have been on strike since 2009 lol. It’s about time drivers have someone in their corner. To many times companies post whatever they want about a driver on DAC just because that driver refuses to put up with that companies BS any longer.

  • GINA

    CRY BABIES IF YOU DID YOUR JOB AND DID IT CORRECTLY TRUST ME ANY CO WOULD BE GLAD TO HAVE YOU !!!! YOU BUNCH OF WEEK MINDED LAZY DIRT BAGS WOULDNT KNOW WHAT A REAL TRUCK DRIVER LOOKED LIKE IF YOU BACKED INTO HIM LOL

  • Barb

    Lots of drivers do their job it’s the shit companies that are dirt bags you need to wake up. And real truck drivers aren’t just men, please don’t forget the woman drivers!

  • dee

    Prime did me the same way,i has to stay out of the industry for 3yrs,because of information they put false on my dat

  • g

    Gina is a dispatcher…and shilling for her office workers who also despise truck drivers.lol
    She works the back row when low on funds…haha

  • guest

    Dispatch and managers LOVE to slander the driver on DAC FILE…they are Sadists and have a good laugh about it.