Court orders Werner to pay nearly $800k to driver trainees

Updated Jun 5, 2017

A federal jury awarded $779,127 in damages in a class action suit against Werner Enterprises Inc. and a subsidiary after the company allegedly violated minimum wage laws by failing to pay driver trainees for 20-minute rest breaks.

The class represents more than 50,000 truckers who participated in Drivers Management, LLC, which trains and employs Werner’s drivers, during the six-year period ending Aug. 1, 2014. After the three-day trial concluded May 24, their attorneys filed motion for liquidated damages, and prejudgment interest.

However, the jury disagreed that the Nebraska-based company had a policy or practice of requiring or allowing student drivers to work during sleeper berth time for more than eight hours during a 24-hour period. The company has corrected the problem in its payroll program that led to the other claim, according to Werner General Counsel Nathan Meisgeier.

“The company is pleased that the jury found in the company’s favor on the claim that represented 97 percent of the damages requested by the plaintiffs’ lawyers,” Meisgeier said.

The lawsuit was filed in 2012 by current and past participants in the carrier’s eight-week trainee program.