Cargo Express Inc. ordered to reinstate, pay driver more than $90,000

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer | 4/4/2013

An administrative law judge for the U.S. Department of Labor has ordered a Boise, ID, trucking company to immediately reinstate a driver and pay him more than $90,000 in back wages and punitive damages.

On Monday, April 1, Department of Labor Administrative Law Judge Lee J. Romero Jr., found that Cargo Express Inc. violated the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982. The company was ordered to reinstate Thomas J. Graff, pay him back wages and punitive damages, pay his attorney’s fees, and “remove any adverse or derogatory references” on his HireRight (DAC) report.

Paul O. Taylor, Graff’s attorney, told Land Line on Wednesday, April 3, that this was a “good win.”

“When he (Graff) refused to drive the truck due to the oil leak and the air leak, he was told by Qualcomm message to either drive the truck or they would find someone else who would,” Taylor said. “This puts drivers between a rock and a hard spot.”

He said Cargo Express officials claimed that Graff wasn’t fired for refusing to drive unsafe equipment, but instead was fired for not having an adequate number of miles, even though his truck was in the shop for repairs several times prior to his termination.

According to the DOL order, Cargo Express, which has approximately 100 power units and 100 drivers, has 14 days to file an appeal.

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