N.C.-based trucking company alleging FMCSA discriminates against its Chinese drivers

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North Carolina-based, Asian-owned trucking company Truse Trucking is alleging it has been the subject of “unlawful and discriminatory enforcement by federal and state officials” because, the company says, it employs Chinese drivers whose primary language is not English.

In a letter sent by the company’s personal representative Kevin Galbreath to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Acting Administrator Scott Darling, the company alleges the discrimination has been ongoing since 2005.

FMCSA Spokesman Duane DeBruyne was unable to confirm that the letter had been received and wouldn’t comment further.

The letter to Darling says the issue came to a head when FMCSA issued a policy enforcement memorandum in 2007 that instructed enforcement officials to conduct roadside inspections in English and to place drivers out-of-service if they are unable to understand and respond. The company alleges FMCSA “failed to follow rulemaking formalities and failed to provide proper notice to the industry and public,” adding the agency should have published a new policy in the Federal Register.

Truse says its drivers have been issued more than 400 citations ordering drivers out-of-service since 2005. The company adds it has submitted evidence to Chief Administrative Law Judge Ronnie Yoder that “shows federal and state enforcement officers knowingly and intentionally discriminated against Truse based on national origin and English language proficiency (ELP).”

The letter also states FMCSA brought civil penalty enforcement cases against Truse in 2007 and 2009 based on alleged ELP violations, and Truse demanded an administrative hearing, which it was granted. Now, Truse says, FMCSA has withdrawn the cases, effectively denying Truse a judicial resolution and a chance at recovering any of its costs and fees through a judicial decision, which the company says is hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last eight years.

Truse says it’s in the process of preparing new discrimination complaints with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Justice Offices of Civil Rights and plans to file a new complaint with the DOT Office of Inspector General requesting a full investigation into the company’s claims.