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Date: 02-15-2023

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Description: Cleveland, Ohio employment law lawyer represented Plaintiff, who sued Defendant civil rights violation theory claiming he was discriminated against because of his age.

Federal Courthouse - Cleveland, Ohio

Federal Courthouse - Cleveland, Ohio

MoreLaw Legal News For Cleveland

Defendant Hilltrux Tank Lines, Inc. is a commercial trucking business, primarily engaged in the hauling and delivery of petroleum products. Plaintiff Michael Prugh worked as a driver for Hilltrux for approximately 13 years. Between April 2007 and March 2019, Hilltrux compensated Prugh using a percentage model, meaning Prugh was compensated a percentage of the gross revenue generated on each load Prugh transported or delivered to Hilltrux customers. Under the Percentage Model, Prugh delivered “considerably less” loads than any other Hilltrux driver. As a result, Prugh was among the lowest paid Hilltrux drivers during this period. Hilltrux policy permitted its drivers to choose from one of two compensation models. In addition to the Percentage Model, Hilltrux also offered hourly compensation. Hilltrux policy permitted drivers the option of changing their preferred compensation model In March 2019, Prugh elected to switch his compensation from the Percentage Model to an hourly rate of pay. After switching to an hourly rate, Prugh eventually became Hilltrux's highest paid driver. Although Prugh received the highest compensation, he had one of the lowest total number of deliveries.

In March 2020, Hilltrux laid off 9 of its 47 employees, including Prugh, due to a slowdown in business. At the time of the layoffs Prugh was 58 years old. The layoffs were limited to mechanics and drivers. In May and June of 2020, Hilltrux recalled 6 of its laid off employees. 3 of the laid off workers were not recalled, including Prugh.

Out of the 9 employees Hilltrux laid off in March 2020, 3 of the employees were over the age of 40 and 6 employees were under the age of 40. (Id.) In the under 40 age group, 4 out of the 6 employees were recalled. In the over 40 age group, Prugh was the only of the 3 laid off employees not recalled. In July 2020, Hilltrux hired a new truck driver who was over 60 years old. In November 2020, Hilltrux hired another new truck driver who was over 50 years old.

On July 19, 2022, Prugh filed a Complaint with this Court alleging that Hilltrux violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (“ADEA”) by not rehiring him.

On July 19, 2022, Prugh filed a Complaint with this Court alleging that Hilltrux violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (“ADEA”) by not rehiring him.

Plaintiff must present evidence of actions taken by the employer which, if unexplained, are more likely than not based on consideration of impermissible factors.

Outcome: Defendant's motion for summary judgment grants.

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