Fired whistleblowing truck driver gets reinstated, back pay
A truck driver who was terminated after reporting unsafe brakes and refusing to drive more than the allowable hours will get his jobs back and be paid more than $190,000.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has ordered Georgia-based Interline Logistics Group LLC to immediately reinstate a truck driver who was fired after filing a whistleblower complaint with OSHA, alleging termination after notifying the company about the deficient brakes.
OSHA found that the company had directed the driver to a repair shop to service the brakes and upon completion of the service call, the driver was instructed to proceed to his dispatch location to pick up a return load. The driver declined to do so, stating he was over the work hours allowed according to DOT regulations. The following day, the driver was terminated for stated reasons including failing to follow dispatch instructions, according to the company. However, OSHA's investigation found reasonable cause to believe that the disciplinary charges and termination were not based on the driver breaking a company work rule but on reporting a safety issue and refusing to violate DOT regulations.
The money the company has been ordered to pay includes back wages, compensatory damages, attorney's fees and punitive damages. The company has also been ordered to refrain from retaliating against any employee for exercising rights guaranteed under the Surface Transportation Assistance Act's whistleblower provision.
Interline Logistics Group is headquartered in Kennesaw, Ga., and operates nationwide.