Tow truck driver seeks back pay and unpaid overtime in suit

Steve Gonzalez Sep. 7, 2007, 6:40am

A former tow truck driver for Hahne's Towing filed suit in Madison County Circuit Court Aug. 31, alleging his employer failed to pay him at minimum wage and failed to pay overtime.

Carnell Williams also is suing owners Michael and Katherine Hahne for slander alleging they gave his potential employers a bad reference.

According to Williams, he worked at the towing company from June 16, 2005, until Feb. 16, 2006, and received an initial salary of $350 per week which was later raised to $400 a week.

"Defendants paid Plaintiff approximately $5.00 per hour," the complaint states. "Plaintiff worked at least 72 hours per week."

Williams claims the towing company failed to pay him minimum wages and time and a half overtime wages as required by the Illinois Minimum Wage Law.

He is seeking a judgment that compensates him for all the wages and compensation that are currently due to him.

Williams also claims he was not paid for his final week of work and three days before filing the suit sent a letter demanding $24,300.

According to Williams, after he was terminated and was seeking employment at other towing companies, the owners told potential employers that he lacked ability to be a tow truck driver by damaging company and customer vehicles.

"Defendants' comments to Williams' potential employers were said with malice toward plaintiff and without justification," the complaint states.

Williams alleges the untrue statements that were made against him have cost him job opportunities and have caused him emotional distress.

"The conduct of defendants in slandering plaintiff to prospective employers is such that punitive damages should be imposed to deter these defendants, and other employers so inclined, from engaging in similar slanderous conduct," the complaint states.

Represented by Lee Barron of Alton, Williams is seeking back pay, compensatory damages for emotional distress, punitive damages in excess of $50,000, attorney fees and costs.

07 L 788

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