A truck driver who stood up for following the rules will be reinstated in his job after being fired when he pointed out safety concerns with his truck brakes and refused to drive when he was over DOT regulated hours.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration investigated the case of a Sauk Village, Ill., truck driver who was fired by Interline Logistics Group for failing to follow dispatch instructions. OSHA found the company fired the employee because he or she reported a safety issue and then refused to break a DOT rule about work hours.
The DOT’s new work rules include 12 fewer hours a week for drivers to work, among other provisions. Because of the new hours of service rules, many drivers will be making the difficult decision to tell their supervisor they cannot drive for another day until their workweek resets.
OSHA ordered the company to pay the man almost $200,000 in back pay, lawyer’s fees and compensatory and punitive damages. Interline Logistics Group is prohibited from retaliating against the employee.
The ruling should serve as a warning to companies that punish their employees for reporting safety concerns and following federal guidelines. The whistleblower in this case was not simply looking out for his or her own safety, but also for the safety of other people on the road.