A trucker who was fired after refusing to haul an overweight load sued the carrier she worked for. Now, two and a half years later, she’s been awarded only $16,723. And about a third of that goes to attorney fees.
Bernadine Poulter was a driver for Central Cal Transportation, a subsidiary of Roadrunner Transportation Systems. She had nearly three years under her belt when the incident occurred. She had picked up a load and stopped at a scale. When her load showed up 600 pounds over the limit for her tandem axle weight, her terminal manager told her to deal with it.
Ryan Rotan, the manager, told her to “slam the load” by speeding up and braking hard to shift the weight of the load around slightly. They exchanged a series of calls and texts before Poulter was eventually fired for insubordination.
Poulter then sued CCT and Rotan specifically for violating whistleblower protection provisions. The Department of Labor concluded that CCT had terminated her as a result of a protect activity.
As a result of the judgement, CCT will have to pay Poulter $16,723. Of that, $11,723 is back wages and interest and $5,000 is compensatory damages and attorney fees. CCT has also been instructed to rehire Poulter and provide her with a favorable letter of recommendation.