A former truck driver for Select Energy Services of Houston, Texas is suing the company for age and race discrimination as well as retaliation and negligence.
According to the Human Resources Journal, the truck driver spoke with the company to let them know he was going to try to find employment closer to where the man lives. The truck driver and the company agreed that the truck driver would wait two weeks to vacate his position.
At the two week mark, the truck driver has still not found a job and requested another week’s employment.
However, during the employee’s last week, he was involved in an accident (it is not clear whether the driver was at fault or not).
As a result of the accident, the truck driver was terminated from his position with the company.
The driver maintains the company traditionally only suspends a driver for three days following an accident and pointed out two similar cases as an example. Conversely, the driver also pointed out that two other employees, who also had similar accidents but were over the age of 40, were also terminated and not given the three-day suspension.
Select filed a motion to dismiss the case, but the did so a day too late. According to the company, the courier sent to file the motion was stuck in traffic and could not make it to the courthouse in time. Ultimately, the judge granted Select’s petition to dismiss.
“The man appealed his dismissed claims and the denial of his request for entry of default. The appeals court affirmed the denial for default judgment, finding it a last resort for ‘extreme situations.’ Appellate judges, however, did find merit in the man’s age discrimination claim, which asserted a violation of the ADEA (Age Discrimination in Employment Act). Though the judges were confused on the details of the former driver’s termination, as he used a “variety of descriptions” in court, they found two points that might substantiate his case – the timing of his termination, while similarly-situated and younger employees were not fired; and Select’s letters of reference ‘improperly’ noting the fact that the man was fired, which the former driver believed was detrimental in seeking future employment,” the Human Resources Journal reported.
“The other claims found no validation on appeal. As to the retaliation claim, the plaintiff had not shown that he’d engaged in protected activity. He cited an earlier case, but one which judges found supportive only of his discrimination claim. Select argued against the claim for race discrimination, as the man had referred to a company policy that came into effect months after his employment – and he had no right to bring claims on behalf of other workers. Judges agreed with the company’s argument. Finally, the negligence claim was boiled down to complaints of certain maintenance issues. None of the issues were the cause of his accident, and the man hadn’t shown how Select’s lack of response to the maintenance problems was considered negligence,” the Journal reported.
The age discrimination claim was reversed and will be reviewed at a later date.
Drivers, what do you think of this case? Does the truck driver have a legal leg to stand on?