Florence, KY – A truck driver who was fired for refusing to operate a commercial motor vehicle in hazardous road conditions caused by inclement winter weather, has his job back, following an order by OSHA.
OSHA ordered Freight Rite Inc. to reinstate the driver and pay $31,569 in back wages and interest, $100,000 in punitive damages, $50,000 in compensatory damages, and reasonable attorney fees, and to refrain from retaliating against the employee.
OSHA inspectors determined that the employee advised the company’s management of his reasonable apprehension of danger to himself and to the general public due to the hazardous road conditions. The termination is a violation of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA).
In addition to reinstating the employee and clearing his personnel file of any reference to the issues involved in the investigation, the employer must also post a notice informing all employees of their whistleblower protections under STAA.
OSHA Regional Administrator, Kurt Petermeyer, said, “Forcing drivers to operate a commercial motor vehicle during inclement weather places their lives and the lives of others at risk. “This order underscores the agency’s commitment to protect workers who exercise their right to ensure the safety of themselves and the general public.”