A trucker who was fired in retaliation for refusing to drive her unsafe rig has been awarded over $115,000 dollars in a case brought against her former employer. In addition to the monetary compensation, the judge also ordered that she be reinstated in her former position.
The suit was brought against Terry Unrein, an independent contractor in Oregon, after the driver was fired just days after refusing to drive a truck with inadequate tire treads in late 2011. She filed a whistleblower complaint to OSHA who was able to help her put together a case against Unrein.
According to Unrein, the driver was terminated after being in an accident, but no evidence was found to support that claim. As such, the driver’s termination was ruled a violation of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act’s employee protection provisions.
“We will enforce whistleblower provisions to the fullest extent of the law to protect employees, who should not be retaliated against for following the law,” said an OSHA administrator.
Though the driver was awarded $115,000 in back pay, Unrein is only responsible for paying as much as $2,600 of her attorney fees.
Unrein has filed an appeal to the decision.
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