OSHA has again ordered Oak Harbor Freight Lines Inc. to stop retaliating against truck drivers who refuse to drive when they feel too ill or fatigued. The order comes after Oak Harbor suspended a commercial truck operator without pay at its Portland, Oregon, terminal after he did not feel well enough to drive. The driver filed a whistleblower complaint, citing violation of safe operating rules under the Surface Transportation Safety Act.
After its investigation, OSHA ordered the trucking company to pay $20,000 in punitive damages to the driver for his suspension. This is the second time the agency has found Oak Harbor retaliated against a truck driver who invoked federal safety rules.
Oak Harbor has also failed to comply with OSHA’s request that the company change its attendance policy, which currently results in drivers absent due to illness or exhaustion receiving negative notes in their personnel records and facing possible discipline or termination.