The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an agency in the United States Department of Labor, recently found that a Hartford, Connecticut, commercial motor carrier was in violation of the whistleblower provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (U.S. Department of Labor Orders Connecticut Commercial Motor Carrier to Compensate Driver Who Raised Safety Concerns).
According to OSHA investigators, Universal Trucking Solutions retaliated against a driver for expressing concerns to management about inadequate vehicle maintenance and violations of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations concerning hours of service. The company adjusted the driver’s work schedule, causing a reduction in pay.
As a result of its investigation, OSHA ordered the company not to retaliate or discriminate against the driver for exercising his rights, and to pay the following:
- $8,315.81 in back pay and interest
- $75,000 in punitive damages
- $50,000 in compensatory damages for mental pain and emotional distress
- $21,378.05 in reasonable attorneys’ fees
“Truck drivers are protected from retaliation when they refuse to violate laws put in place to protect their safety and health,” OSHA Regional Administrator Galen Blanton said. “This order reinforces the agency’s commitment to protecting workers who exercise their right to a safe workplace, and refuse to place themselves and the public at risk.”
OSHA provides enforcement for more than 20 federal whistleblower statutes that protect employees who report violations of various laws. It is crucial to protect workers who do the right thing by reporting illegal or dangerous practices engaged in by their employers. For more information, please visit OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Programs.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, please contact Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman for a free consultation. We will only receive a fee in the event of a successful resolution of your case.