Immigrant Truckers Who Don’t Know Much English Are Being Cheated, Lawsuit Alleges
Cook County, IL – A new lawsuit filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County alleges two Illinois-based trucking companies are exploiting immigrant truck drivers’ lack of proficiency of the English language in an “unjust enrichment” scheme.
In a proposed class action suit filed Thursday, August 8, 2019, plaintiff Zhanat Tlenchiyev accuses Patriot Transport Inc. and its sister company, Expeditor Systems Inc. of engaging in an “exploitative scheme” targeting truck drivers who recently immigrated to the United States.
Tlenchiyev alleges that owners of the two companies, Ivan Zabolotovsky and Igor Terletsky, exploit immigrants by improperly classifying them as independent contractors, making illegal deductions from their paychecks and failing to compensate them for all miles driven.
According to the complaint, Tlenchiyev worked for the companies for two months and says he hasn’t been paid for more than 4,000 miles and is owed more than $2,200.
Additionally, he alleges the defendants made unauthorized deductions from his pay and refused to withhold payroll and Social Security taxes or contribute the proper amount of Social Security and unemployment tax.
Further, he claims Zabolotovsky and Terletsky sought to hire truck drivers who recently immigrated to the U.S. and acquired a commercial drivers license (CDL).
The suit contends the defendants engaged in these practices in order to take advantage of the drivers’ lack of understanding of English and U.S. laws and regulations.
According to the complaint, Tlenchiyev asserts, “Instead of running an honest business, defendants Zabolotovsky and Terletsky designed the above-described scheme of deductions and wage withholdings to take money from hard-working, vulnerable employees who could not or would not fight back.”
The lawsuit alleges the trucking companies violated the Illinois Wage Payment and Collections Act.
“The vast majority of truck drivers who worked or work for the company were or are misclassified, underpaid, and subjected to illicit deductions,” Tlenchiyev stated.
It also accuses the defendants of fraudulent inducement, fraudulent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, civil conspiracy and unjust enrichment.
TRENDING TRUCKING LAWSUIT NEWS
Tlenchiyev is seeking damages exceeding $1.5 million for the class which he contends is comprised of more than 1,000 truck drivers.
“The proposed class is made up of the ‘smaller guy.’ The class consists of individual truck drivers, who, for the most part, are newly licensed commercial drivers, most are recent immigrants to this country with its complicated rules and regulations and are not sophisticated or in position to seek legal redress individually,” he said.
According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Expeditor Systems Inc. hauls “General Freight,” employs 125 drivers and operates 120 power units.
The company reported operations of 8.2 million miles in 2017.
Patriot Transport Inc. also hauls “General Freight,” employs 55 drivers and operates 60 power units.
The company reported operations of 1.8 million miles in 2017.
Both companies have vehicle and driver inspection out of service (OOS) percentages well below industry averages.
Neither company has been involved in a fatal crash in the last 24 months of reporting.
Transportation Nation Network will continue to follow this case.
(Photo courtesy of Patriot Transport/Facebook)
WANT MORE? GET MORE!
Get the latest trucking lawsuit news HERE.