E-Alerts & Press Releases

Paratransit drivers and Transdev settle case over unpaid wages

For Immediate Release
December 5, 2018
David Rodwin, Public Justice Center, rodwind@publicjustice.org, 410-625-9409, ext. 249
BALTIMORE – This week, five paratransit drivers reached a $160,000 settlement with Transdev Services, Inc., for their claims of unpaid wages. The plaintiffs drove Medicaid recipients to medical appointments under a contract between Transdev and Baltimore City. The lawsuit contended that although that contract required Transdev to ensure all drivers were paid according to Baltimore City’s living wage ordinance, the plaintiffs were paid far less than minimum wage and were denied overtime despite working 70 or more hours per week. In the settlement agreement, Transdev denies liability. The settlement calls attention to the need for greater scrutiny of the wage practices of businesses that pay their employees with government money.

“We worked 12, 13, sometimes 15-hour days," said Trekell Gaither, one of the plaintiff drivers. "And we got paid just a few dollars for each person we picked up. When you did the math, it came to $4 or $5 an hour. No one can afford to live on that, not in this city anyway.”

The complaint alleged that Transdev entered into a contract with the City to provide Medicaid-funded medical transportation for Baltimore residents who have Medicaid and need transportation assistance. According to the plaintiffs, Transdev entered into a subcontract with another company to provide a portion of these services, but Transdev determined who the drivers would pick up, where they needed to go, and what time they needed to be there. The plaintiffs alleged that although Transdev’s contract with the City required it to make sure that all drivers—including drivers employed by any subcontractors—were paid at least Baltimore City’s living wage rate, they were paid just a few dollars an hour. Under Baltimore City’s living wage ordinance, employees who work under service contracts like this one must be paid at least the City’s living wage, which is now $11.81 per hour.

Wayne Flemming, another of the plaintiff drivers, plans to use the settlement money to buy a car to use for other employment. He also plans to pay bills that accumulated when his wages were so low that he could not make ends meet. “This money makes a big difference,” Mr. Flemming said. “It’s like a new start with the new year.” 

The case was brought by the Public Justice Center’s Workplace Justice Project, which partners with low-wage workers, community and labor organizations, and fellow advocates to promote justice in the workplace and in the courts. The non-profit civil legal aid organization joined with Outten & Golden LLP to represent the plaintiff drivers.

“Too often in Baltimore, workers are paid less than the bedrock minimums required by law, which makes it even harder for workers to support themselves and their families,” said attorney David Rodwin, who represented the plaintiffs. “It is especially concerning that workers paid with government money—in this case, from Medicaid—would be paid less than even minimum wage.”
The case is Trekell Gaither, et al. v. Davi Transportation Services, LLC, et al., U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland Case No. 18-1447. The court entered an order approving the settlement on December 4, 2018. The workers are represented by David Rodwin and Sally Dworak-Fisher of the Public Justice Center and Sally Abrahamson of Outten & Golden, LLP.

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