A federal court recently found in favor of C R England Inc, one of the nation's largest refrigerated carriers, on all counts in a wrongful termination lawsuit originally filed in 1995.
“This decision just reaffirms our commitment to our employees and particularly the 3,600 C R England drivers who we consider the lifeblood of our company,” said Dan England, chief executive officer of the 83-year-old company.
A Salt Lake City UT jury unanimously rejected claims by Bud Barela, a former driver trainer, who insisted he was wrongfully terminated in 1994 for reasons of racial discrimination and public policy violation.
C R England maintained that Barela's termination resulted from performance issues and had nothing to do with race or concerns of driver treatment he allegedly raised to management. During the trial, the jury heard evidence from former students and a local school bus driver testifying that Barela read newspapers and conducted personal business during training time, rather than instructing students.
Barela filed suit in 1995, but a United States District Court judge dismissed his claims of violation of public policy, ruling that Utah is an “at-will” state in which workers can be fired for any reason or no reason at all. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal, however, and returned the matter to the District Court for trial.