Marten Must Pay $100k To ANOTHER Driver In Refusal-To-Drive Case


News

For the second time in less than a month, carrier Marten Transport has been ordered to pay a former driver for firing him after he refused to haul an illegal load. This time, it cost them over $100,000.

At the beginning of February, Marten was ordered to pay Cedric Sinkfield over $50,000 for firing him after he refused to haul an overweight load. Marten announced that they plan to appeal the decision because they claim that Sinkfield was fired for multiple other infractions.


In the most recent case, the driver in question claims that he was pushed to resign by the carrier after he had refused to haul two separate overweight loads and had turned down three other loads because he would have violated his HOS regulations.

Like the previous case however, Marten maintains that the driver, Brandon Hopper had a history of missed loads and a poor work ethic. In a statement filed with the court, the carrier claims that they didn’t fire Hopper, but rather reassigned him to drive in a different region which caused Hopper to leave the company voluntarily. Marten also claims that the refused loads would not have placed him out of service as Hopper claims, though Hopper’s dispatcher at the time said they would have.

Despite their protestations, Department of Labor Administrative Judge Christine Kirby found that the testimony from Marten employees was “inconsistent and vague,” and that the rejected loads had indeed been overweight.

Judge Kirby ruled on February 22nd that Hopper was protected by federal labor laws and was due $50,000 in lost pay and $50,000 in punitive damages.

Hopefully carriers will be less likely to push drivers to take illegal loads or drive over their allowable hours now that the driver coercion rule is in effect.

 

Source: overdrive, thetruckersreport, ccj

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Comments

81 comments. Add a comment.

    • Joe says

      What will happen when a driver moves to another job? Will the company, like Marten, black ball the driver, and give a bad reference?

  1. David Dunne says

    I was Travelling from Sligo to Dublin {Ireland} the other Day and approaching the Village of Castlebaldwin on the Borders of Sligo and Roscommon {Counties or States} the Gardai {Gard-ee…Police} and the RSA {Road Safety Authority} were out in full force checking all 18 Wheelers with a fine Tooth Comb…5/6 Trucks were parked on the hard shoulder awaiting Inspection and studying the Inspectors for the few minutes I was held up they were out to get someone such was the Meticulous attention they were paying to everything…sadly we don’t hear about the reports that follow these Inspections so “Bad” Companies don’t get the Publicity they deserve over here but it seems to me that while I agree with these Punishments and the protection been given to the Drivers those “Fines” do not seem to be a deterrent to these Companies who continue to Bully and add reasons to an already long list as to why they sacked the Driver…Maybe it’s me or perhaps I’m naive…I’m retired now after 50 years on the Road and I loved every Minute of it…Yup’ I’ve had my bad Days but they faded quickly when compared to the good ones…Safe Driving out there and never Drive quicker than your Guardian Angel can fly…

  2. Donna says

    There is a lot of this sort of garbage going on. Calling you while your in the sleeper berth on your break asking you why your not rolling, trying to get you to go pick up a load. Threatening you . It has needed to be addressed for YEARS. About time someone enforces it.

  3. Lloyd Hayes says

    I have worked for various companies over almost the last 20 years. I am retired now. In the majority of cases, the reason that I changed companies was because dispatchers or company owners wanted me to run illegally. It seems that dispatchers and some company owners believe that experienced drivers are mainly experienced in skirting the laws. I seldom stayed more then 3 years with any single company because of this. The exception was while I was an owner-operator where I was picking my own loads and dispatching myself. As an owner-operator picking my own loads, I had control of my own schedule. But drivers still need to be wary of some freight brokers.

  4. R.C. says

    Yes it’s about time these companies start getting back for abusing drivers for so long.And it’s said slavery died along time ago,nope its alive in the trucking industry.

  5. Anthony says

    Wow I think this ruling is absolutely fantastic, For all us drivers out there who can completely relate to being pushed by dispatch and the company. I thought when I started to haul locally that things would change but my loads are always being dispatched over weight ( Fuel Tanker ) luckily I can control my amounts and adjust my loads and nobody has ever said anything to me. It’s about time the drivers learn to push back and not be intimidated, The law is the law and the HOS are there for a reason and any company that does what Marten did should have to pay.

      • Yankee Bob says

        What do you mean a slacker they were trying to give him a illegal loads and trying to make him run out of hours what do you mean a slacker you might run illegal but that other guy didn’t want to run that way so now he’s $100,000 richer because he didn’t wants to run illegal.

    • says

      A little more than 50k was for back pay. That is an actual loss by the driver. The Court was not Santa Claus. The other 50k was for punitive damages to punish Marten for the retaliation. Marten was also awarded to pay the driver’s attorney fees (the attorney fee petition still needs to be submitted).

  6. JJ says

    I’m glad the coercion rule of law is now in place, and the judge used it. I’m glad I never went to work at Marten, the company I been with for years may have a hiccup now and then but at least they don’t knowingly violate or coerce the driver to drive in violation. Loads overweight, go back to shipper and they either get it right or the company will refuse the load, trailer has violations bring it to a shop or get another one, on elogs and haven’t seen them violate it, truck has violations bring it to a shop, need to shutdown due to inclement weather just let them know and shutdown at a safe spot. They have your typical crap low mile load now and then but always get you a good mile load after to make up for it, so overall I can’t complain. Again glad to see the coercion rule and it being enforced, and another good thing is we get to see the company name announced as it now is public information. Glad to see the judge after seeing the evidence ruled for the driver. As far as overweight goes, companies better start taking note, they are starting to DOT is starting to expand their use of unmanned camera enforced road weight sensing equipment, I know I myself was on a secondary highway just recently and saw the camera and equipment and sign, you will get photod and be ticketed, I wasn’t overweight, my CAT scale weighed out at 78,800 pds.

    • Dave says

      “They have your typical crap low mile load now and then but always get you a good mile load after to make up for it,”
      This type of action is why freight rates stay low, there is always some cutthroat out there that will haul a cheap load. Until companies and drivers quit hauling cheap freight, the rates will stay low because the brokers know who to call for the cheap freight.

      • JJ says

        I’m a company driver, we have forced dispatch, that really doesn’t bother me as it does some. I chose not to be an Owner Operator but that’s my choice. I get good miles, and overall their fair to me, also have a good fleet mgr. So a 300 mile run and then getting a pre plan after for a 1800 to 2400 mile run, I don’t mind that at all. I’m one that looks at the entire picture at a company and I’ve been here for many years, and don’t have to many complaints.

  7. EZmule says

    We fail to realize that companies big and small are still controlled by some one. They are all looking at their bottom line. They have to. For starters. If you are not comfortable with doing something; then don’t do it. Don’t let the company force you. I don’t know how over weight we are talking.
    If it is less than a thousand over gross, we as drivers have to look at ourselves to make sure the problem isn’t the weight in the cab.
    Third. Carriers should know ahead of time; how much each truck should be able to Carry, legally. Not every driver can legally carry the same weight.
    As a carrier. You agree to haul. Not every shipper and consignee is a great big company; where they can short haul what was agreed on. Or if you agree to haul a 45,000 lb piece. They agreed to haul it. To turn around and say that you can not damages credibility. So less loads for that carrier.
    Last. If a carrier sucks. Why do so many drivers stick around? Are they all looking to be wrongfully terminated so that they can sue? As long as drivers are willing to be treated poorly; these carriers are going to thrive on and us drivers are going to keep getting the short end.

    • JJ says

      Well if you drive for a mega carrier like me, that can go around weighing every truck, as that weight will vary depending several variables, fuel at time of pickup, equipment, drivers personal items(hey some of us are out here for weeks, I come prepared as always,I dont go hungry and I dont eat at truck stops period!), there are several other variables also. Thats why get a good company to work for that runs fully legal(yes they do exist, I work for one). you have to look at the entire picture just not the cents per mile. Their as I said not perfect but miles good, benefits good, equipment good/fair, home-time excellent(you put your time in 7 to 8 days advance you will get home, an emergency they will relay loads to get you there or if you have to fly home will get that load off from you and let you do what you got to do,and even follow up with you if everything is okay. A message needs to be sent to shippers, get your act together or its going to cost you. Keep me siting at your dock going to cost you, load to heavy going to cost you, and the list goes on of course. Hell are starting to request 60FT trailers, you all know try hat in some cities and turns!! Time has come do things legal and no one will have to pay. There is a word for all this for companies and shippers, etc…be proactive NOT reactive and you wont have so much headache, but many want to take the hard way!!

    • CatsAndChrome says

      Sometimes your stuck with a company due to contracts. My co driver and I have to wait another 16 months before we can quit, because his CDL school loan remainder would be doubled and sent to collections if he quit before it was paid off. Also, newer drivers have a hard time because many of the better companies, non puppy mills, require 2-4 yrs exp before hiring.

  8. Steve Bell says

    About time…unfortunately decades too late for me…Ferrellgas fired me for writing up my truck in my daily vehicle inspection …as required by federal law…and I can’t count all the times that I was dispatched by the companies when I was over hours…

  9. Jeff says

    I was terminated from my job a couple of weeks ago for refusing to pickup a load because I was too sick to drive safely. I have pondered whether or not to file a complaint since that day because I am not sure if that is a violation by the company. I was told more than once to plan on picking up my next lead and meeting another driver in Indiana to swap trailers and then I could go home and see a doctor. I chose to deadhead home and not pickup the load and was ultimately diagnosed with upper respiratory issues and placed on medicine. I sure would like to know if this was against the fmcsa rules and if I should file a complaint or not because I truly have no idea what to do.

    • Jenny says

      This just happened to my hubby.

      He decided after 28 years enough was enough and is now OUT of driving tractor trailer.

      Push, push, push….

      And they wonder why the good one with experience are leaving and the companies are left with wheel holders……

    • William says

      If you read the article How to file a coercion complaint, it does say that forceing you to drive if you are sick is coercion.But the fact that you did drive home may be against you. I’d check it out.

    • starhauler says

      File a complaint and see what happens. It is best though to document everything you do take pics of the qual com messages, take pics of delivery times and loaded out times, file a copy of your complaint with the safety office keeping a copy for yourself and send a copy to FMCSA . Keep your evidence between you and FMCSA though. Do not allow the company to destroy your evidence as the company always thinks a driver is dumb.

    • Al says

      You took the company truck and blew off a load even though they were working with you to get you home? Did I read that correctly? If you took my truck and did what you wanted , I’d have fired you too, but thats just me I guess.

      • Wendall says

        So you’re saying forcing a driver to work would have been what you would have done? It’s hard enough to find a parking place for a semi, let alone trying to get close enough to a hospital to even think about going to the ER.

    • tim staggs says

      it is 392.2 in the FMC rules no driver is operate or company shall permit a driver to operate vehicle why’ll ill or fatiged.

    • Dan Jeffers says

      Grab your FMCSR (the green book) and open it to 392.3. You will see the company and/or your dispatcher was in violation of the Federal Regulations.

    • says

      You have 180 days from the date of firing to file a complaint alleging retaliation in violation of the section 405 of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act. The complaints need to be filed with federal OSHA which is part of the United States Department of Labor. Addresses can be found at OSHA.gov.

  10. Rob F says

    I worked for many large companies and left each one for various reasons (broken promises, not getting home, not enough miles, etc). I took a chance with the biggest and to my great surprise they’re everything I’ve been looking for my entire career (27 years). It’s now going on 2 years and never forced, coerced, pushed, threatened or made to feel the load was more important than me. Is it perfect? No, it’s a job. At the end of every week (5 days) I have 2500 miles or more by the time I get home, which they pay those miles as well. I won’t say who but we haul a lot of intermodal.

    • EZmule says

      I am happy for you Rob F. I am @ “company #12”. I too think that I finally found the correct match for me. It is sad though. Out of 12. I would only recommend 3.

    • starhauler says

      Sissy? Endangering oneself and the public is far from being a ‘SISSY” ! Go out and kill someone on the highway or a bus load of kids because you were criminally neglect is way to soft of a charge. Murder would be more appropriate!

      • Jason guernsey says

        I get the feeling we are not getting the full story on this deal. Truth be known, these guys had the hours to make the load, but screw off, and run into there 14. And as far as weight go’s, it shouldn’t have had anything to do with the trucking company, if I don’t feel like dodgeing scales the whole trip, I go back to the shipper, and tell them I’m not leaving until they take some product off.

        • starhauler says

          So you go back and they take their good old time to off load a few hundred lbs and it was a max mileage run for HOS on a good day. You just violated HOS or you were at least over 10.5 hours late. Nice

        • Dan says

          WOW, you’re really delusional on this. The whole story is above the comments since you failed miserably in your reading & comprehension skills.

        • Theresa Mellen says

          You are right. Have shipper rework load. Sick on the road? Take a taxi, go to the dr. I worked for Marten 7 years, ran my can off and loved it. Quit them because my miles went down too low for too long. Good loads started being put on rail, all with any real miles to them. Marten used to be a good company until they started hiring pansy ass driver steering wheel holders. Quit them in 2009, cant say much since that time.

  11. Chris W says

    Starter Companies are always like this. You just have to suck it up until you find yourself a better company to work for. This sickness is the same if your an O/O. Just because you bought yourself a new truck, you think you can make profit out of it? If your broker pays you $4 a mile then yes, but you aint getting that rate unless you accept overweight loads and run illegal. (Look for oversized/hazmat routes).

    • Laz says

      screw that sucking it up bit- those laws are there for public safety. the last thing we want an inexperienced driver to do is “suck it up” and start swimming in the deep end. those accidents cost everyone

  12. Gladigotout says

    Supercarriers must keep the investors happy, that’s the bottom line. YOU are 100 percent expendable. The young, ignorant and persuadable are the now and future of trucking.

  13. Tim says

    Not surprising at all to hear that Marten’s become the poster child for bad behavior, with drivers chomping at the bit to leave it twisting in the judicial wind.

    • EZmule says

      But then he dead headed home. So he chose to drive. If you use that as an excuse, to not work, then you stay parked.

  14. Jeremy says

    When a company hires a driver they pour thousands of dollars into that driver. So for a truck company to fire a person you gotta be doing alot and I mean ALOT of crap to get fired. All this comes down to is everyone of you is lazy and is trying to find the most smallest excuse you can not to have to drive. I’ve got a headache can’t drive I’ve got a upper respiratory infection I can’t drive I’ve got the sniffles I can’t drive. None of these are reasons not to drive. Now if it’s I got the flu or I have whatever with a fever. Or I’ve got food poisoning and can’t get off the toilet then you can sit there for a few days. But like I said all it comes down to is your all lazy and you all try to come up with any excuse not to drive.

      • JJ says

        Lol starhauler, I can’t help but laugh. Hey I buy you lunch if I meet ya on the road. I’m sure Jeremy means well, I don’t get sick to often, but there is sum truth in what he is saying, no? lol.

      • starhauler says

        If your replying to me I wised up. No more going in at 8am (central Ohio) working in the shop be hit with a run to Cape Canaveral at 3:30 PM with a delivery time of 12:00PM the next day solo. Weighed 79,000 in Mack pulled into Cape Canaveral at 11pm, I said self no more it isn’t worth it.

    • Jeff says

      You must be an idiot. For your information I was never late on pickups or deliveries and never had any issues with getting from point a to point b in plenty of time. So take your lazy comment and shove it

    • postal trucker says

      You must be a billy bob truck driver that’s in the middle lane doing 60 and has been everywhere done everything super truckers i mean stupid trucker probably work for swift you should read your comments and think of how stupid you sound companies get kickbacks for hiring new people from school’s you must also be new to driving

    • Omar says

      Those companies do not spend thousands of dollars on drivers at all, so trust me, they could care less if they let you go. It’s an open for policy for a reason. Drivers come, and drivers go. They make a lot more off of you, than you do from them.

    • Theresa Mellen says

      Agree with you. Lazy is as lazy does. Lazy driver=more miles for us that are actual truckers out here to earn.

  15. starhauler says

    I filed a complaint with FMCSA and OSHA along with a whistle blower complaint in March of last year. As I write this nothing has been done as to preventing individuals from getting on the highway with over 20 hours of continuous on duty time! OSHA did fine the company for actual work place violations but nothing has been done about documented unsafe equipment HOS or intimidation including the threat of physical violence.

  16. Laz says

    the all those lawyers and bad press will cost them far more than the fine. of course , management cant see that from way up where it’s head is at.

  17. Thaddeus Cole says

    That’s good for em!!!! Randy Marten is a guy who is “two faced!” He acts like he’s a cool guy,but like most Ceo’s, he’s all about the money! I’m glad these drivers stood their ground and didn’t back down!

  18. J Carter says

    I left Marten for a reason.

    If you’re out for two weeks, they’ll work you 7-days a week.
    For a month, they’ll work you 7-days a week.
    If you were like me, who liked to stay out for 8 to 10 weeks at a time, they would still work you 7-days a week.

    Not -offer- you work, 7-days a week, but compel you to work 7-days a week. If you needed to take a day off, you would get eight phone call in the first hour, from people who would demand to know why you couldn’t drive.

    Marten Transport is one of the worst companies I have ever worked for. They are draconian task-masters. And if you are unwilling to do everything they say, when they say it, then you must have a poor work ethic or are a bad driver.

  19. d hnderson says

    been sayin it for years–grow a pair and stand your ground–have taken 5 comp. to the labor board and have won 5 times–document EVERYTHING

  20. postal trucker says

    Driver’s need to take a stand this is out of control if he would’ve taken that load and got caught company would’ve acted like they had no idea about it put it all on the driver now thier wanting to put camera’s in our living space to watch us what’s next gonna hook us up to heart monitors and blood pressure machines while we drive if something doesn’t happen soon im leaving this industry the foreigners and canadians can have it

  21. James a beringer says

    Don’t get me started about Marten, they suck . From day 1 my apu didn’t work right ,would not cool or heat properly and I sent them a maintenance report everyday. Was late on delivery once due to lack of hours . Had a non preventable accident on I -95 in Maryland ,only $500 in damage to other vehicle ,no injuries no one was towed from the scene.police report was written and I delivered the load on time . Tried calling safety and the main office on sat ,good luck ,no one answered the phone , also took pics at the scene . They terminated me because they said i was following to close , what do you do when someone cut you off and slams on their brakes because they missed their exit . Does any have a # I can call to get my record cleared.this sucks…

  22. morons says

    Good, it’s about time someone show those same town ice cubes. That justice comes to all corners of the earth. Even nothing mondovi, Wisconsin.

  23. Mark Pain says

    I don’t mean to step on anyone’s toes but how much over weight are we talking about? Did the company say that they would take the violation or would it have affected the drivers record? At times I have had the company tell me to drive with it and they would take the hit & other times I have been directed to return to shipper no matter how small the over gross was. Just curious is all.

    • says

      The CAT scale ticket indicated that the tractor weighed 35,440 pounds on the truck-tractor’s tandem axles. The set was weighed about a mile from Marten’s Edwardsville, KS terminal. The driver took it back and refused to pull it to St. Joseph, MO.

      (I am Mr. Hopper’s attorney)

  24. says

    I must say the people in these companies lie when a driver show they are not dummies or when a driver decides to go on his own, they don’t want smart driver’s they want flunkies.

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