February 26, 2020
U.S. Department of Labor Orders Connecticut Commercial Motor Carrier
To Compensate Driver Who Raised Safety Concerns
BOSTON, MA — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has determined Universal Trucking Solutions LLC — a defunct Hartford, Connecticut, commercial motor carrier — along with its own co-owner, Juan Ramirez, violated the whistleblower protections of this Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA).
OSHA researchers revealed that the company and Ramirez retaliated against a motorist who voiced concerns to administration concerning faulty automobile care — such as missing or inoperative headlights and air pressure leaks — along with also the company’s leadership to violate Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hours of service regulations while still driving. Management and Ramirez later altered the driver’s job program, leading to a decrease into the motorist’s pay.
The motorist resigned February 2017 later worries which U.S. Department of Transportation officials could confiscate their Commercial Driver’s License; their livelihood and/or existence may be dropped due to faulty trucks; and due to their company compelled them to dismiss hours-of-service rules.
Following the analysis, OSHA ordered United Trucking Solutions and Ramirez to take the following corrective actions:
- Pay the motorist $8,315. 81 in back pay and interest, $75,000 in punitive damages, and $50,000 in compensatory damages for emotional pain and psychological distress;
- Pay $21,378. 05 in reasonable lawyers’ fees to the complainant’s lawyers; and
- Refrain from retaliating or discriminating against the complainant in any way for exercising STAA rights.
“Truck drivers are protected from retaliation when they refuse to violate laws put in place to protect their safety and health,” stated OSHA Regional Administrator Galen Blanton at Boston, Massachusetts. “This order reinforces the agency’s commitment to protect workers who exercise their right to a safe workplace, and refuse to place themselves and the public at risk.”
Either party can appeal the order to the division’s Office of Administrative Law Judges.
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of STAA and more than 20 whistleblower statutes protecting employees who report violations of airline, industrial motor company, customer merchandise, environmental, fiscal reform, food security, automobile safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transport service, railroad, marine, and securities legislation. For more info on whistleblower protections, see OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Programs webpage.
Under that the Occupational Safety and Health Act, companies are accountable for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their workers. OSHA’s role is to help make sure such requirements for America’s functioning women and men by establishing and implementing standards, and providing training, instruction and help. For more info, see http://www.osha.gov.
The assignment of the Department of Labor is to cultivate, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and acquaintances of those United States; enhance working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and also guarantee work-related advantages and rights.
Editor’s notice : The U.S. Department of Labor doesn’t release the names of workers engaged with whistleblower complaints.
Release Number: 20-161-BOS/BOS 2020-037
U.S. Department of all Labor information substances are available at http://www.dol.gov. The Department’s Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental data and documents into other formats, including Braille and big print. For option format requests, please get the Department in (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (national relay).