A truck driver is suing his St. Clair County employers, alleging unpaid wages and wrongful termination for refusing to disobey traffic laws.

Nicholas Dafoe filed a lawsuit on March 12 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Dustin Neff, doing business as Neff Hauling, and Republic Services Inc.

According to the complaint, Dafoe was employed by both defendants as a driver and hauler from July 2013 until June 2014. His duties included transporting construction and landscaping materials such as paint cans, siding, concrete mix, cinder blocks, tree limbs and shrubbery.

Dafoe claims he was required to clean Neff’s truck and trailer without compensation on several occasions, totaling about 12 hours of labor each time. As a result, he claims he is entitled to approximately $192 for the unpaid wages.  Because the time spent on the task exceeded 40 hours, Dafoe also alleges he is entitled to $1,872 in damages for unpaid overtime, liquidated damages, interests and fees.

Additionally, Dafoe contends he was unable to cash regular paychecks totaling $2,480 due to insufficient funds on the employer’s part. Further, accuses Neff of employee mis-classification, saying the defendant categorized him as a contractor when he was actually an employee, and asks statutory penalties of $500 per violation. Dafoe also asserts the employer unlawfully deducted $2,641 in expenses from his wages.

Dafoe was fired on June 26, 2014, following a conversation with another employee, where the plaintiff alleges he was instructed to exceed the speed limit to "drive faster," the suit states.

According to court documents, Dafoe was terminated in violation of Illinois public policy for road safety. He cites lost wages and benefits and emotional distress, and alleges malicious and unlawful retaliation for refusing to disobey traffic laws.

Dafoe seeks punitive damages in excess of $50,000, plus attorney fees and costs. He is represented by attorneys Lee Barron and William Buchanan of Alton.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 15-L-143.

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