Safety & Compliance

OSHA Fines Carrier for Firing Driver Who Refused to Run Over Hours

July 23, 2013

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The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration office in Boston has ordered Massachusetts-based motor carrier Brillo Motor Transportation and its owner to reinstate a former employee and pay him $96,864 in back wages and interest, $9,669 in compensatory damages and $25,000 in punitive damages.

The order follows an OSHA investigation that determined that Brillo and Chuck Cappello, Brillo's owner, violated the employee protection provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act when they terminated a truck driver in December 2010 in retaliation for his refusal to drive hours in excess of those allowed under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations. In this case, the driver refused to drive a truck from Quincy to Milford, Mass., because he was already over his allowable driving hours.

"An employer does not have the right to take adverse action against an employee who refuses to violate safety regulations designed to protect him and the public," said Marthe Kent, OSHA's New England regional administrator. "Such employer activity places the well-being of employees and the public at risk if it intimidates workers into violating the law."

OSHA's order also requires Brillo and Cappello to pay reasonable attorney's fees for the complainant, expunge any adverse references relating to the discharge from the complainant's personnel records and post a notice for all employees notifying them of their rights under the STAA. It also prohibits them from retaliating or discriminating against the complainant in any manner for instituting or causing any proceeding under or related to the STAA.

The company may file objections or request a hearing by August 17.

The U.S. Department of Labor does not release names of employees involved in whistleblower complaints.

Comments

  1. 1. Clifford Downing [ July 24, 2013 @ 04:06AM ]

    Bravo to OSHA! Now this is the type of thing that they were established for. And the days of renegade stuff in the name of the almighty dollar is rapidly coming to an end.

  2. 2. BarbRRB [ July 24, 2013 @ 06:00AM ]

    Finally having people behind you, when you stand up for what is "RIGHT". I wish I would have had that when I was told to lie on HOS or loose my job. Paid by the hour & OT was not in the budget. Local DOT did nothing. The bad part, paid alot of money for my training as safety coordinator. Some CEO's believe they are above the law and NOT ALWAYS the driver who make the choice to lie, put in a situation to feed & house their family or lie.

  3. 3. cgstatus [ July 24, 2013 @ 09:47AM ]

    about time this guys over at OSHA do something right. Companies have no right to make their drivers' brake the law. at the end of the day the company will wash their hands and driver will have to bite the bullet.

  4. 4. G. V. FOREMAN [ July 25, 2013 @ 07:52AM ]

    QUESTION: Why was this “award” handed down from OSHA? Why didn't the award come from the FMCSA in as much as it was their regulations that were violated? Second, was the trucking company fined or disciplined by the FMCSA? Granted, such threats are made against truck drivers every day of the week by “company” minded dispatchers and load handlers. The FMCSA should be equally concerned about such attitudes as they are about the physical condition, the hours of service and/or distracted driving.

  5. 5. krwertz [ July 31, 2013 @ 07:27AM ]

    ANSWER: OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program enforces the whistleblower provisions of more than twenty whistleblower statutes. For a list of these and their filing time limits go to www.whistleblowers.gov

  6. 6. real world business owner [ September 29, 2013 @ 10:33AM ]

    So much for getting the job done; Cappello trucking is in Marlborough, MA and Milford, MA is on the way to Marlborough from Quincy. All it takes is one bad seed and government employees who have no idea of what is like to earn a paycheck to try to sink someone in a brutal industry such as trucking. $131,000.00 fine for one dirt bag employee is outrages.

  7. 7. John [ October 02, 2013 @ 07:31AM ]

    I'm confused here. The driver was already over on his hours, then refused to drive more over his hours? It seems to me that the driver was already breaking the law, before he was told to take the truck to Milford. If he was willing to go over hours to get to Quincy, It shouldn't have mattered then to take the truck to another location, unless he lived there. If the company appeals the decision, they could probably get a major reduction in the amount they have to pay.
    You can't have it both ways, like this driver is doing. He broke the law to begin with, so he shouldn't have gotten anything!
    If the company tries to force their drivers to drive over hours, they should be punished. But in this case, 2 wrongs don't make for an expensive right.

 

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