Considering everything that we have already heard about the trucking industry, it should come as no surprise that we are targeting a specific trucking company. Because the individual who contacted us is currently employed, we have taken precautions to keep their identity anonymous. With that out of the way, let’s dive in.
John Christner Trucking, LLC. is a company based out of Sapulpa, Oklahoma. Although it is a fairly small company, they are no stranger to abusing their drivers, leaving them just enough money to buy food each week. Aside from extreme low pay the company provides, it has also seen its fair share of lawsuits. In the past three years alone, John Christner has seen nearly a dozen legal actions against it. Before we get into the most recent whistleblower, let’s review some of these lawsuits.
In February of last year, JCT found itself in the middle of a “misclassification” lawsuit. This case stemmed from more than 3k California based drivers who made multiple accusations against the company. Among the accusations: Working 70-100 hours a week while making less than $500, drivers owing the company money, and violating multiple state and federal labor laws by classifying drivers as “independent contractors” rather than employees. This wasn’t the only lawsuit JCT was faced with.
Mousavi v. John Christner Trucking
In what has to be the most controversial case, among it’s countless others, is this one. On 04-19-2019, Iranian American, Kazem Mousavi filed a discrimination suit against JCT. In the complaint, he alleged that the company had placed a “in-cab” camera system in his truck, without his consent. He noted that his vehicle was the only one to receive this system. While the company assured him that the camera would only be used in emergency situations, that apparently was not the case.
According to Mousavi, when arriving at the terminal, individuals working in the JCT office made comments regarding his conversations via the phone. In one instance, he was informed that they enjoyed hearing him speak Iranian. All of this, if accurate, would had been a violation of multiple privacy laws. In order to have these cameras inside a truck, the driver must sign a consent form to being recorded. If he had not signed any such form, JCT could had gotten more than a lawsuit. If you wish to read the case in its entirety, you may do so at this link.
The whistleblower that we have been talking to, has made multiple accusations against this company. According to him, they are using threat of income as a means of forcing him into a medical test, one that would violate his religious beliefs. Although he has made this very clear to the company on multiple occasions, they still bring it up. Utilizing his legal rights, he informs our platform that he went for a second opinion, which the company than proceeded to deny accepting the two year medical card. Their reason? They didn’t like the field of practice the doctor was trained in. As with so many other drivers, who have filed lawsuits against JCT, he stated that he drove 3k miles, only to receive a paycheck that wasn’t even $400. He than proceeded to show us his check stub, proving this claim.
We mentioned that he was being pressured into a medical test. Let’s dive a bit more into that. In the trucking industry, there are doctors who try to force drivers into a sleep study; this test is not a federally required test for drivers. Furthermore, it is a test that the driver has to pay out of pocket for. Due to religious beliefs, which prohibit our whistleblower from being connected to machines that may alter/change his life, he opted for a second opinion. During the entire process, he states the company did everything in its power to force the sleep study. When he got the second opinion, they simply refused to accept it, effectively shutting down his source of income until he complied. So, what is religious discrimination?
The U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines religious discrimination as:
Religious discrimination involves treating a person (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of his or her religious beliefs. The law protects not only people who belong to traditional, organized religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, but also others who have sincerely held religious, ethical or moral beliefs.
Under this act, they require companies to make reasonable accommodations to their employees, if their religious beliefs prohibit certain things. In this instance, in our opinion, JCT not only failed to do so, they took the extra initiative in preventing the employee from obtaining an income, resulting in his soon to be resignation.
Behavior like this, regardless of the industry or company, is absolutely atrocious. To treat any person in the manner to which this company’s history implicates is enough that they should had been investigated ages ago. However, like most companies within the trucking industry, there is simply no accountability. Thankfully, our platform has branched out into the business review world. With that, we will happily bring accountability when and where it is owed.