About 60 former employees of NationsWay Transport Services are suing owner Jerry McMorris and other top officers for more than $5 million in unpaid wages on behalf of the approximately 3,500 employees put out of work when the company filed for bankruptcy last month.
The Denver Post reports that the suit, filed last week, asked the court to declare it a class action. Colorado law allows corporate officers to be held individually liable for the wages of unpaid employees, according to one of the lawyers filing the suit.
About 1,000 of the unpaid workers live in the Denver area; that group is owed about $2 million. The other Nations Way workers that lost their jobs were based out of different hubs around the country. Most workers estimated after the bankruptcy filing that they were owed at least two weeks pay plus accrued vacation pay. The suit asks for a 50% penalty in addition to the wages owed.
The bankruptcy court in Phoenix said money from the estate of the defunct trucking company can be used to move freight left stranded by the shutdown, and also may be used to pay workers' wages.
The same day the suit was filed, attorneys for NationsWay submitted a proposal to the bankruptcy court to extend an agreement with the trucking company's chief lenders that would let it wrap up its business affairs. The budget in the proposal included $650,000 in wages and related disbursements.