Fired big trucker finds apology only fitting
Jan 22, 2004 12:00 PM, from staff and wire reportsA 412-pound trucker who claims he was fired because he could not fit into a replacement tractor has received from his employer USF Holland an apologyÑand a truck that can accommodate him.
Walter Geter, 49, who is 6 foot, 2 inches tall, also got back pay to cover his wages since his firing January 15.
Steve Caddy, president of Michigan-based USF Holland, blamed misunderstandings on both sides of the issue and said in a statement: "He has been offered a tractor that will accommodate him and has been put back 'into service'." Geter, who has worked for the carrier since September 2002, said he has enjoyed an "impeccable" driving record over his 30 years of driving and has received more than a dozen safety awards.
The trouble began when his regular truck broke down, and he was assigned a truck that could not accommodate his girth. When he asked the dispatcher for a larger tractor, he was fired. The next day, Geter filed a grievance with the union saying that he didnÕt refuse to workÑonly that he wanted a truck that would fit him.
Geter said he passed the company physical with the same weight he has had since reaching adulthood and that his size and work-related needs were of no surprise to his company. For now, the incident is considered closed by both parties.