January 12 2021,
Former employee of Kingsburg trucking company Cheema Transport, Inc., Steven Blount has filed a lawsuit alleging he was illegally overworked, then fired for speaking up to his manager. Knowing the safety risks involved, Blount alleges management insisted he keep driving past the 11 hour daily limit, as regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Mr. Blount started pushing back against his manager’s policies in February of 2019, the complaint states, and received abusive and racialized language in return, and was ultimately terminated in June of 2019.
In the lawsuit, Mr. Blount states that in order to avoid drawing the attention of federal regulators, his manager would alter Mr. Blount’s electronic logbook to conceal the driving done beyond 11 hours each day. Beginning in or around February 2019, Mr. Blount, struggling with serious back pain that became aggravated upon sitting too long in his driver’s seat, says he began to push back against his manager’s insistence that he keep driving after the law dictated that he stop. In response to Mr. Blount’s resistance, the lawsuit says his manager would attempt to bully Mr. Blount into continuing to drive. The case alleges his manager would scream at Mr. Blount over the phone urging him to continue, threatening him with termination if he stopped, telling Mr. Blount (an African-American) that “Black people are lazy,” and going so far as threatening to call local Police and have Mr. Blount arrested if he did not stay on the road.
In or around June 2019, Mr. Blount, driving in or around Midland, Texas had been driving for three days straight with little to no sleep, the case alleges, and his manager insisted that Mr. Blount continue driving if he didn’t want to be fired and threatened to call the police, again calling Black people lazy and stating that “Black people don’t want to work.” After Mr. Blount refused to continue working far beyond the legal limit on hours behind the wheel, the lawsuit alleges that Cheema Transport fired him.
Steven Blount is represented by attorney Kyle Todd, of Kyle Todd, P.C. Requests for comment can be directed to attorney Kyle Todd, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (323) 208-9171.