Asphalt Specialists Ordered to Pay Nearly $1M in Compensation
It will also reinstate drivers who had been terminated for raising safety concerns.
OSHA has found Asphalt Specialists Inc. in violation of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act for wrongfully terminating a foreman and two truck drivers, according to a news release. They had raised safety concerns after being directed to violate U.S. Department of Transportation-mandated hours of service for commercial truck drivers.
The asphalt paving company, which is headquartered in Pontiac, Mich., was ordered to reinstate the three employees to their former positions with all pay, benefits, and rights. The company was ordered to pay a total of $953,916 in damages: $243,916 in back wages to the drivers, $110,000 in compensatory damages, and $600,000 in punitive damages.
"It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against employees who report work-related safety concerns or violations of federal transportation regulations, which require drivers to have a minimum 10-hour rest period between shifts," said Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. "OSHA is committed to protecting workers from retaliation for exercising basic worker rights."
The Surface Transportation Assistance Act covers private-sector drivers and other employees of commercial motor carriers. Companies covered by the STAA may not discharge their employees or retaliate against them for refusing to operate a vehicle because doing so would either violate a federal commercial motor vehicle rule related to safety, health, or security, or because the employee had a reasonable apprehension of serious injury to themselves or the public because of a vehicle's safety or security condition.