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Tired, fired trucker ordered reinstated

Company told OSHA he quit

drivingThe U.S. Department of Labor has settled its whistleblower case against Tennessee trucking company Mark Alvis Inc., owner Mark Alvis and dispatcher Jack Taylor for terminating an employee who refused to operate a vehicle because he was ill, fatigued and did not have sufficient remaining hours to complete a delivery.

An investigation by OSHA found sufficient evidence that the termination violated the Surface Transportation Assistance Act. A settlement approved by an administrative law judge on Sept. 25 includes reinstatement of the trucker, and a lump sum payment of $30,000. The company also has to offer assurances that no employee exercising rights protected by the STAA will be discharged or face any manner of discrimination.

On May 4, 2010, the employee was assigned to deliver a truck of milk to a supermarket in Murfreesboro. While preparing for the drive, he slipped and was hurt but thought the pain would go away. The next day, the employee proceeded with the delivery as planned, and upon arriving in Murfreesboro, was instructed to perform another delivery. The employee informed the dispatcher of feeling ill and fatigued, and also of not having sufficient allowable service hours remaining to make the drive according to federal regulations. The employee then returned to the company's site in Brush Creek, where he was told to remove his belongings from his truck. The company asserted to OSHA that the employee quit upon removing his belongings.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the STAA and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, motor vehicle safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime and securities laws.

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