A Tennessee truck driver who blew the whistle on Brush Creek, TN-based trucking company Mark Alvis after he was terminated for refusing to drive a truck due to illness, fatigue and being over on his driving hours has been awarded $30,000 in compensation and ordered reinstated to his job by the Dept. of Labor.
While making a delivery, the truck driver claimed he was assigned an additional delivery despite informing a dispatcher that he had fallen and injured himself, was ill and did not have enough hours available to complete the new assignment, according to OSHA. The trucking company alleged the driver wasn’t terminated, but quit his job after arriving back at the company’s headquarters. (The Dept. of Labor does not release names of employees involved in whistleblower complaints.)
After an investigation, a DOL judge ruled in favor of the driver and ordered that the truck driver be reinstated. The settlement terms also include a lump sum payment of $30,000 to the employee and assurances that no employee exercising rights protected by the Surface Transportation Assistance Act will be discharged or face any manner of discrimination. OSHA was represented in the case by the department's regional office in Nashville.
“OSHA will continue to ensure that America’s truck drivers’ right to refuse to drive when they are fatigued, ill or in violation of hours-of-service requirements is not undermined,” said Cindy A. Coe, OSHA’s regional administrator in Atlanta said in a statement. “OSHA is pleased to reach a settlement in this matter that includes the employee’s reinstatement.”
Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise various protected concerns or provide protected information to the employer or the government. Employees who believe that they have been retaliated against for engaging in protected conduct may file a complaint with the secretary of labor for an investigation by OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program. More information is available online at http://www.whistleblowers.gov.