Before arriving at J. B. Hunt to apply for a driving job, I had completed physical therapy, my workmans compensation case was closed, I was out of work, and was counselled one last time by my my compensation Attorney.
My compensation Attorney stated to me that due to the nature of my injuries I would be on "Pain Killers for Life". And if I wanted to stay in the Transportation profession, I would always have to be FORTHCOMING with the nature of my injuries along with "Any and ALL medications" that I take that were associated with my condition.
When I arrived at J. B. Hunt to apply for a Truck Driving Job, I had to complete orientation class. During J.B. Hunts Driver Orientation, I was given a "Driver Check Off List" which contained questions regarding my "Medical History". The medical history questions pertained to existing health conditions, any surgeries I may have had, and any prescription medications that I took on a regular basis.
As instructed by my compensation Attorney, I was "FORTHCOMING" on this driver check off list which included questions about my medical history. I listed "15% impairment to left ankle and foot." "Injury to coccyx" and I listed medications Tylox, Bextra, Marinol, and 800mg Ibuprofen.
These injuries were simaltaneously sustained within a single slip and fall accident while working for a previous company. "My left ankle was crushed by a 200lb lift jack after falling and injuring my coccyx (tailbone). My left ankle was surgically repaired with four titanium screws implanted, and my coccyx injury was remedied by physical therapy to restore mobility. When the compensation closed I was issued work restrictions by both my orthepedic surgeon and my back specialist. Niether my ankle nor my coccyx injury was restored 100% and I am still limited to this very day.
After I completed the "Driver check off list/medical history questionaire" I was seen by an "Onsite Physical Therapist" at the J.B. Hunt's facility in Concord, NC. The Physical Therapist WAS NOT a D.O.T doctor, yet she examined my ankle, my mobility in both my ankle and back, she reviewed the medications that I had listed and ask me was I on any of them currently?
My response to the Physical Therapist was, I only have to take these medicines if I "Aggravate" my injuries. The physical therapist then asked me "What account was I being assigned too?" My response was, "The Walmart DCS account." The Physical Therapist responded, "That's a drop and hook account so you won't have to worry about any lifting or anything, and this company normally uses lumpers." I was then cleared for duty, I completed the week long orientation, and was assigned to a tractor Friday evening. The date was October 31st, 2005.
After Christmas 2005, I was taken off of the Walmart account and reassigned to the Certainteed account for no apparent reason. After I was reassigned I later found out, after reporting for duty to the new account, that this was a flatbed account and that I was required to lift 90lb tarps, peform excessive lifting, climbing, bending, stooping, all of which were aggravating my injuries to maximum.
From the end of December to the near end of January I was required to fulfill my duties as a flatbed operator and truck driver. All duties assigned to me I performed WITHOUT FAIL or INCIDENT. In fact I performed outstanding. I was always on time for duty, my loads were always secured properly, and I was always on time for my delivery and pick up appoinments.
Unfortunatley, J.B. Hunts medical insurance would not become effective for me until I had been employed there for at least "3 months". The nature of the job as a flatbed operator caused me to always be in pain and I found it very difficult to relax and sleep because my pain level was enormous. Even though I had no medical insurance, my mother in law who is a registered nurse was able to provide information on how to obtain the medications I was taking during my compensation case.
I knew Tylox was against D.O.T regulations, but Bextra, Marinol, and Ibuprofen did not show up on any "Do Not Take List" that I recieved from "Pro Med Medical Clinic". These medicines I was able to obtain from a family friend who was a General Practitioner/Doctor.
At the end of January, my Service Team leader requested that I report for a random drug screen. When I arrived at the onsite testing center, I told the medical personnel administering the test that I was "on pain killers for life" from a previous workers compensation case, and was there anything that I needed to do before taking the urine test. His response to me was "He doesn't know anything about workers compensation procedures." With a shrug of both our shoulders, I went ahead with the urine test feeling that I was in compliance because no one said anything about what I had already reported on my medical history questionaire when I was hired.
A week later I was informed that I tested positive for "Marijuana" and that I needed to contact the MRO. When I contacted the MRO, I was asked If I was taking any medications. My response was, "Yes, I was taking the medications "that I listed on my medical history form during orientation." The MRO then asked me if I could produce a prescription for the Marinol medicine. My response was, "I haven't been able to see a doctor yet because my medical insurance doesn't become effective at J. B. Hunt until the end of January or first week of February and that I had been getting medicines from various places. I was then told by the MRO that if I can't present a prescription for Marinol, that I would have to be removed from the safety sensitive function of being a truck driver.
I was unable to present a prescription, I was later terminated, but my compensation attorney advised me that I was never even supposed to be cleared for duty to drive a truck in the first place, J. B. Hunt having "Foreknowledge" of medicines that I disclosed during orientation, and that the Physical Therapist was supposed to either stand me down from duty until she secured a prescription from me, gave me a prescription for pain killers that were accepted by the company, or make me sign a "Do not take list" with the consequence of Termination should I violate the do not take list.
I was then advised to take the case to the North Carolina Employment Security Commission and if I were denied unemployment benefits, have the case heard by ESC Case Manager for "Wrongful Termination". I was infact denied unemployment insurance, but the most unfortunate moment of all was the ESC Case Manager "Refused to request the original medical history questionaire" which showed that I was FORTHCOMING by listing "Marinol" on my medical history questionaire.
The ESC Case Manager allowed J. B. Hunt to Fax a copy of my Driver Check off list which included the medical questionaire the day of my hearing with her and J. B. Hunt's attorney. When I viewed the faxed copy of my driver check off list I noticed that form was a "Doctored" form of my "Original" questionaire. The medications that I listed were "Ommitted" and my signature was forged on the fax copy.
The Supervisor of the ESC Case manager that heard my case stated that the case manager "was not" supposed to have conducted the hearing without having all evidence and original documents in question. The hearing was indeed recorded, and anyone that hears this hearing and witnesses for themselves what that J. B. Hunt Transportation did indeed forge my original documents to cover up thier mistake, will agree that I do have a case.
Greenville, South Carolina