Truck Driver Fired for Reporting Truck Safety Concerns: OSHA
OSHA has ordered the employer to pay lost wages, along with $10,000 in punitive damages and $3,060.02 in attorney's fees, and also to expunge the driver's employment records.
OSHA says that Brindi Trailer Sales and Services Inc. of Meridale, N.Y., as well as owner Robert Urbina Brindi, violated the anti-discrimination provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act by firing an employee for reporting truck safety concerns.
"This driver was fired for doing the right thing. A defective truck is a danger not only to its driver, but to other motorists on the road. Commercial truck drivers have a legal right to report safety issues to their employer without fear of termination or retaliation. Violating the law can put workers at risk and has costly consequences for the offending employer," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
In 2011, the driver started letting the company know about a number of deficiencies, including ineffective brakes, steering issues, non-functioning turn signals, leaks and a cracked windshield. According to the report, the company refused to fix any of the issue, leading to the driver contacting the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
A whistleblower complaint to OSHA was deemed worthy, and OSHA has ordered Brindi to pay the driver $32,642 in lost wages. OSHA also ordered Brindi to pay $10,000 in punitive damages and $3,060.02 in attorney's fees and to expunge the driver's employment records. The employee and Brindi each have 30 days from receipt of OSHA's findings to file objections and request a hearing before the Labor Department's Office of Administrative Law Judges.