“How a company treats its employees can be judged by its commitment to honesty and loyalty only then will you see its true character.”
I was instructed by my employer after seeking medical treatment not to report my back injury to the Workers’ Compensation Board and my request for a Day of the Injury Report Claimant Form was denied instead provided with the Employee and Attending Physician Forms under the company’s Group Benefits.
August 28, 1995
Occupation – Professional Driver “Employee’s condition is work-related”, “NOT entitled to W.C.B.”, “no modified duties available.”, “Injury happened off the job.”
August 30, 1995
Out-of-pocket medical expenses including a writeup of Day of Injury Report (non-compliance W.C.B. form) faxed directly to the company’s Insurance Provider (Supervised)
October 13, 1995
“complete attached Long Term Disability form and return to head office A.S.A.P. Please note the doctor’s portion is not required.”
“employee off work since August 25, 1995, Absent for Medical Reasons – Lumbosacral Disc Herniation Left Side and employee is NOT entitled to W.C.B.”
“we cannot provide an employer report as there is no evidence to support this was a work-related injury”.
Human Resources Department
February 27, May 9, June 13, 1996
TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT
October 18, 1996
“Approved Rehabilitation Program (June 24, 1996) August 1 – December 10, was intended for you to return to the company”, “that it would be the responsibility of you and your and physicians to arrange for any treatment or specialist’s referrals and “you would be responsible for any costs related to a treatment program. Under the Provision of your policy Long Term Disability Plan, there are no benefits for medical expenses or treatment expenses.”
Company’s Insurance Provider
January 31, 1997
“I am sorry that your experience since your injury has been unpleasant.” , “I understand that it was not handled to your satisfaction.” , “I understand that you have filed a claim with Alberta Human Rights.”
Chief Operating Officer
October 1, 1997
“he was injured off the job on August 25, 1995, and began a Short Term disability Program for a back injury effective September 02, 1995.”
“while on Short Term Disability the employee registered a claim with Workers’ Compensation Board (May 9, 1996) to appeal for compensation for his disability the claim was denied and was continued through the company’s insurance provider.” (Long Term Disability accepted Effective March 1, 1996)
“the company is empathetic that as a result of the employee’s physical condition he has experienced frustration and anxiety during his disability; however, we deny allegations that he was discriminated against and harassed at any time during or subsequent to his employment with the company.”
“as with any professional organization we do our best to maintain and support clear and consistent communication. We believe we could have done a better job communicating with this employee however, at no time was there ever malice of intent. We believe we have made significant improvements to our policies and procedures that facilitate improved communications.”
“Sincere apology has been made to this employee for any shortcomings at the company have had in meeting his expectations”. “the termination from the company was solely based on medical evidence.”
Human Resources Department
November 12, 1997
Acknowledges the high risk of back injuries among their professional drivers having 63-Claims in 41 Months and is an occupational hazard within the trucking industry and the negative impact on one’s personal life, co-workers, and family and financial hardship incurred.
Claims Co-ordinator Compliance and Safety Department
3 Investigation letters confirm there is no medical evidence to support that I came to the company with a pre-existing back injury.
Workers’ Compensation Board
June 8, 11, November 6, 1998
“he was instructed not to report to the Workers’ Compensation Board because the incident was not work-related.” (First Reported to Senior Official on August 28, 1995)
Claims Co-ordinator Compliance and Safety Department
September 10, 1998
“we had no evidence to support a work-related injury.” (June 13, 1996)
“employee was terminated (October 18, 1996) from employment based on medical information.”
“the company denies responsibility for the subject claim based on the following information and sequence of events recorded on files.”
“review of our files and reliance upon the medical review taken we cannot support this claim to be work-related.”
“the company takes pride in our efforts at ensuring claims are filed with the appropriate coverage.”
Claims Co-ordinator Compliance and Safety Department
January 26, June 1, 1999
Alberta Human Rights Commission investigation concludes: “termination of employment was based on physical disability.”
It recommended that I receive damages for the breach of my human rights.
February 5, May 13, 1999
“We reviewed the new medical information received on your claim for your disability your claim continues to meet the definition of disability on your plan.”
Your plan requires that you participate and cooperate in a reasonable and customary treatment program performed by your physician or a medical specialist.
Under the provisions of your Long Term Disability Plan:
Medical expenses are not covered under this policy you will be responsible for any incurred costs.
It would remain the responsibility of you and your physician to arrange for any treatment or specialist referrals and you would be responsible for any costs incurred in that treatment program.
Under the Employee Group Long Term Disability Policy your CPP disability benefits are deducted –
Retroactive August 31, 1999.
Company’s Insurance Provider
“Patient has no hope of returning to any Gainful Employment, progressively getting worse.”
Family (Attending) Physician’s Medical Report
Principles and Values
QHSE: The ABC’s of the company
“Quality, Health, Safety, and Environmental form the foundation of the company’s business”
“QHSE has always been a focus at the company, We had one of the first safety programs back in the 1960’s I think it’s why a lot of people came to the company.”
“The trucking business has had a long-time reputation for long hours and hard work. We had restrictions on hours our drivers could work. Safety and quality of life have always been paramount.”
“In a marketplace where so many companies pay lip service to safety, the company is a shining example of an organization whose absolute, the number-one priority is making sure each and every employee and their families are safe at work and at home.”
“While the company offers a top – of – the line health and benefits package, protecting its employees’ health wellbeing goes far beyond eye exams and dental coverage.
“We have a number of unique programs in place our employees’ health is important to us – not just at work, but in their daily lives.”
Attitude and Commitment
“One of our mottoes is that safety is an attitude, And it’s a positive attitude towards safety we want to see in all of our employees, A senior management team that is 100 percent behind safety initiatives is key to the company’s impressive safety record and that it has created a culture in which everyone is constantly trying to improve.”
“We take our QHSE very seriously here at the company and have the safety record to prove it. We are proud of our people for being so dedicated to the health and safety of their customers, their coworkers, and of course, themselves.”
The Company’s Health, Safety and Environment Policy (HSE)
“All of us at the company are responsible to support our Health, Environmental, Safety, and Loss Control programs which are designed to protect people, property, and the environment.”
We are committed to active safety culture through:
“Effective and Committed Leadership”
“The creation of awareness on health and wellness issues”
“To meet or exceed regulatory requirements and industry-standard practice in the areas in which we operate”
“Fostering an environment of open two – way communication with our employees”
“A secure working environment for all employees”
“Our HSE goals are clear, an injury-free workplace, an incident/accident-free workplace and to cause no harm to the environment.”
“As individuals, we must support whole-heartedly and participate in all aspects of Health, Safety, and Environmental programs so that, we as members of the company, may maintain leadership in our industries.”
“Through effective leadership, teamwork and continues improvement efforts, we will maintain, an important part of our culture – safety.”
“The company puts the highest priority on safety and the companies’ impressive record reflects the commitment.”
“It is not easy to achieve and maintain, so we are constantly using checks and balances to ensure we’re meeting and exceeding, not only our own standards, as well as industry regulations.”
“The company’s internal Quality, Health, Safety, and Environmental (QHSE) programs include the latest
tools, training and dedicated surveillance to ensure the highest stands of safety are met.”
“The company’s People Development and Culture department.”
“The transformation of the human resources department from a mainly administration division to a group of people dedicated to making the company a great place to work meant taking a number of existing programs and bring them all together as well as creating some new ones amid at celebrating people.”
“We had such a rich history to build on and so many programs already in place made it a lot of fun to create this department.”
“Today, the company’s people development and culture department offers a plethora of programs and initiatives that contribute to making an employer of choice.”
Training and Development
“When people are well trained, they are able to do their jobs efficiently and safely.”
“Whether it is in the classroom, online or on the job, we make sure they get the tools they need to do their jobs well.”
“We concentrate on soft skills like communication. We not only want our employees to do well at their
jobs, but we also want them to have skills they need to succeed in life.”
“We have always been a family-oriented company, and we feel it’s important to include them in our activities.”
QHSE Director for the company
“Our original family values of Respect, Integrity, Loyalty”
“We place a lot of emphasis on family”
“They say you can always count on family…and right they are”, “It’s all in the family.”
Vice President – Chief Operating Officer
President – Chief Execute Officer
Based on my lived experience for over 25 years at age 56 with an inadequate disability pension with the company that terminates at age 65 (2029) and I unable to set money aside for a retirement savings plan.
I am screwed!
I believe when department personnel and senior officials came to their conclusion based on an internal (biased and subjective) investigation that my back injury: Lumbosacral Disc Herniation Left Side, Extensive Lumbar Muscle Dysfunction and Ligament Damage with Nerve Impingement.
Is non-work related and not an occupational hazard or a result of my daily job duties and denied my request for a Workers’ Compensation Board Day of the Injury Report Claimant Form citing I am not entitled to Workers’ Compensation Benefits in their opinion, I was, therefore, not eligible for the company’s number of unique QHSE: ABC programs that are offered to its valued employees’.
Instead, ultimately my employment was terminated in a most callous and unprofessional manner without just cause or providing a written explanation at the time while on medical leave following my family physician’s instructions in an approved rehabilitation program and full compliance of the Employee Group Disability Policy a requirement in all disability policies including the government disability act.
The lack of “Effective, Committed Leadership and Teamwork” from company officials and department personnel and the comparable employee disability benefits to W.C.B. benefits I was led to believe by officials, in the beginning, was not accurate.
For example, the company’s private insurance policy does not cover:
- 90 percent of net earnings including overtime;
- Benefits were not indexed for inflation. Each year I receive less in real money. I am living below the poverty line;
- I have not received any effective treatment nor retraining;
- There is no coverage for permanent partial disability benefits;
- No coverage for expert medical reports or specialist examinations:
- There is no coverage for certain out-of-pocket medical expenses;
- There is no coverage for standard rehabilitation and preventative treatments.
My CPP Disability Pension is also deducted from my monthly disability pension (this would not have been the case had I been on W.C.B. benefits) incurring further financial hardship resulting in the lack of a basic standard of quality of living. Screwed again!
The company’s act of defiance to report my work-related back injury claim (after seeking medical treatment) to W.C.B. on August 28, 1995, and taking responsibility the lack of commitment to professionalism, respect and the selfishness that I encountered thereafter from department personnel, and senior officials and ultimately terminate my employment on October 18, 1996, via telephone conversation and failing to provide resources and support have resulted in my health progressively getting worse.
In the company’s May 1998 monthly newsletter acknowledging 63 Claims in 41 Months of their own and recognizes that back injuries are an occupational hazard I find it is very concerning that a respected member of the Alberta Motor Transportation Association would not allow a professional driver in their charge to report a career-ending back injury to the Workers’ Compensation Board then in return at a later date would claim that I did report it while on short term disability. This is not accurate. (Refer to page 5 November 12, 1997, on August 28, 1995 – Present)
In my opinion, this type of behavior from the company and officials demonstrates a lack of leadership/mentorship role is unacceptable and gives the industry an unprofessional reputation.
I believe it is very misleading that a “#1 professional trucking company” from Alberta promoting themselves to the public with employee safety a proud heritage of family values and professionalism since 1947 “without grandstanding, without prejudice, without selfishness and carry an open mind, and a willingness to serve, we will create an opportunity to become real professionals”.
With no hope of returning to gainful and productive employment in any capacity to earn an adequate and respectable living and with an uncertain future I believe is an example that speaks loud and clear about the entire trucking industry’s treatment including lack of respect and support towards professional drivers after reporting a life-changing work-related back injury to one of its members.
This is a difficult and painful lesson learned by at least one professional driver at my expense with the company after putting my trust in department personnel and senior officials and I believe needs to be shared within the trucking community to help raise awareness through education to prevent this from happening to fellow professional drivers who earn an honest living behind the wheel.
I can no longer remain silent I also believe by coming forward sharing my personal experience in acknowledging and standing up to this malicious and abusive mentality it is my hope by writing my story and going public others will benefit from and share this information to help prevent what has occurred to me personally to not be repeated to others through knowledge and will lead to safer working conditions, respect for and protection for professional drivers’ rights in the workplace.
No injured worker regardless of industry or occupation they are employed in deserves employment standards and human rights abuse let alone the trucking industry or a member claiming to be professional with family values since 1947 and a leader in the industry!
How does the Alberta Motor Transportation Association and Canadian Trucking Industry react to this type of malicious behavior from one of its respected members?
Will this abuse be allowed to go unchallenged and is it an example of what can be expected in the future from their respected members towards the next generation of professional drivers?
Is the trucking industry willing to build a bridge of trust between professional drivers and its members?
Would the Alberta Motor Transportation Association and Canadian Trucking Industry be willing to establish a 3 rd Party Independent Governing and Monitoring System to hold their members accountable?
To keep all its respected members honest and accountable to the highest standards in this industry I further recommend strong enforcement and harsher penalties and calling out these members in public via media who knowingly violates government acts and regulations to discourage other members from behaving in the same disgraceful and unprofessional manner towards professional drivers.
This unprofessional and abusive behavior for refusing to take responsibility will most certainly have a profound impact on one’s life that prevents one from earning a Gainful and Productive Life and Independent Living with Financial Security and have a corresponding long-lasting negative impact on one’s personal life, health and well-being, quality of life, family life and social life with friends.
Certainly, a waste of a person’s life after reporting a work-related back injury to a trucking company claiming to be a “1 st class organization” and “professional” with “family values” a leader and setting an example for others to follow in this demanding industry. I am living proof of this “old school trucking” mentality!
These measures are intended to protect all professional drivers’ rights with equality, fairness and follow the Workers’ Compensation Board, Employment Standards, and Human Rights Acts and Regulations to the highest standards to protect workers’ safety, health, and well-being on the worksite.
It is not intended to be based on (or at the discretion) of an employer's or a member’s opinions, selfishness, and grandstanding the company’s QHSE: ABC programs to the public via media to abuse or avoid the responsibility of due process and accountability by refusing to report a work-related back injury of a professional driver’s claim while in their charge withhold supporting documentation and claiming there is nothing on record to support the injury is work-related.
As demonstrated in my case.
- I was instructed by my employer after seeking medical treatment not to report my back injury to the Workers’ Compensation Board and my request for a Day of the Injury Report Claimant Form was denied.
- Company Official acknowledges 2 days later – Occupation – Professional Driver “Employee’s condition is work-related”, and “NOT entitled to W.C.B.”
- Out-of-pocket medical expenses including a writeup of Day of Injury Report (non-compliance W.C.B. form) faxed directly to the company’s Insurance Provider NOT the Workers’ Compensation Board as a requirement in the act. (Supervised)
- Employment is abruptly terminated while on medical leave following my family physician’s instructions in an approved rehabilitation program and full compliance with the company’s Group Disability Policy.
- Chief Operating Officer -“I am sorry that your experience since your injury has been unpleasant.” , “I understand that it was not handled to your satisfaction.”
- Human Resources Department – “we deny allegations that he was discriminated against and harassed”, “Sincere apology has been made to this employee for any shortcomings at the company have had in meeting his expectations”, “the termination from the company was solely based on medical evidence.”
- Claims Co-ordinator Compliance and Safety Department –“he was instructed not to report to the Workers’ Compensation Board”, “employee was terminated from employment based on medical information”, “the company denies responsibility”, “review of our files and reliance upon the medical review taken we cannot support this claim to be work-related.”, “the company takes pride in our efforts at ensuring claims are filed with the appropriate coverage.”
- Company’s Employee Long Term Disability Benefits continues to this day.
Arrogance and Defiance from beginning to end as documented. Unbelievable!
Supporting documentation available with a written request.
Closing Statement and Recommendations:
In my opinion, I believe it is paramount for the trucking industry and its members to require visionary efforts and earn a trustworthy leadership role through hard honest work treating professional drivers with respect and take effective measures in protecting their rights, safety, health, and well-being with equality and fairness through action and not permit posturing, selfishness and no grandstanding!
I welcome feedback from the Alberta Motor Transportation Association and Canadian Trucking Industry and challenge all members to come forward and support a safer trucking industry and finally put an end to the “old school trucking” mentality instead, I encourage the entire trucking industry to become an advocate to help protect professional drivers in their charge that earn an honest living on the road in this demanding and at often a harsh environment and is recognized not only as a strong contribution to the economic growth and prosperity of Canada but also an essential service by provincial and federal governments.
Something we can all be to be proud of.
Based on my personal experience and in my opinion, I believe the company fails to meet their definition of “effective and committed leadership”, “professionalism and high standards”, “family principles and values”, “respect, integrity, loyalty, and commitment to listening to our people.”
As quoted by company senior officials “I understand that it was not handled to your satisfaction”, “We believe we could have done a better job communicating” and “Sincere apology has been made to this employee for any shortcomings at the company have had in meeting his expectations.”
As a result, I now live with a pre-existing and permanent back injury that affects my legs and toes I suffer from sleep deprivation have limited mobility, and live daily with chronic pain.
With no hope for recovery and my health continues to deteriorate considerably and is progressively getting worse there is no possibility of returning to Gainful and Productive Employment to earn a decent living for myself with financial security, live a healthy and independent life and becoming a strong contributing member of society and set money aside for a retirement savings plan.
Is the Trucking Industry in Alberta a career for you?