OSHA orders trucking company to pay driver $45K for whistleblower violations

Employer allegedly fired trucker for reporting safety concerns

Posted January 27, 2016

A truck driver will receive $45,000 after the New York trucking company he worked for was charged with violating whistleblower laws. According to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the company violated the anti-discrimination provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA).

OSHA reports that shortly after starting work with the company in 2011, the driver began notifying the company of defective equipment on his truck. These defects included ineffective brakes, steering issues, non-functioning turn signals, leaks, and a cracked windshield. He requested these conditions be repaired. The company refused. In February 2012, the driver contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, which inspected the truck and found 16 violations. The truck was pulled from service until repairs were made. The driver notified the company and was abruptly discharged.

The worker filed a whistleblower complaint with OSHA, which found merit to the complaint. OSHA has now ordered the company to pay the driver $32,642, $10,000 in punitive damages, and $3,060.02 in attorney’s fees, and to expunge the driver’s employment records.

The employee and the company each have 30 days from receipt of OSHA's findings to file objections and request a hearing before the Labor Department's Office of Administrative Law Judges.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the STAA and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, worker safety, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, and securities laws.

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