California Trucking Company Ordered by OSHA to Reinstate Employee After Whistleblowing Incident

OSHA recently ordered JHOS Logistics and Transportation Inc. to reinstate an employee who had been terminated for refusing to drive an overweight vehicle at a California facility. OSHA is also charging the company $190,000 back in wages, $25,000 in punitive damages and $5,000 in compensatory damages and attorney fees.

An OSHA news article from July 15, 2020, discusses a recent incident between OSHA and a California trucking company. After an employee at JHOS Logistics and Transportation Inc. refused to drive a truck he believed was overweight, he was terminated. Now, the company must reinstate the employee and pay $190,000 back in wages, $25,000 in punitive damages and $5,000 in compensatory damages and attorney fees.

OSHA investigators found that the company violated the whistleblower provision of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) when the company terminated the employee. Two months prior to the termination, the employee received a violation for operating an overweight commercial motor vehicle. “The size of the previous load was similar to the size of the current load,” said the article, “which led the employee to believe the commercial motor vehicle was overweight.”

The company must also train managers and post a notice informing their employees about workers’ rights under the STAA. JHOS Logistics and Transportation Inc. may appeal the order to the Department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges.

“This order underscores the U.S. Department of Labor's commitment to protect employees who report violations under Surface Transportation Assistance Act,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Barbara Goto. “OSHA enforces the legal provisions of the act, which protects employees who exercise their right to report health and safety concerns with commercial motor vehicles.”

OSHA whistleblower protection laws are in place to protect workers by providing more than 20 whistleblower statues that protect workers from retaliation for reporting violations of various workplace safety and health, airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health insurance reform, motor vehicle safety, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, securities and tax laws and for engaging in other related protected activities.

You can read more at OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Programs webpage.

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