An unnamed trucker was fired after refusing to drive during unsafe conditions. His carrier has been ordered by the U.S. Department of Labor to rehire him and pay him over $180k for his trouble.
In accordance with federal whistleblower protections, the name of the driver has not been released. But according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a division of the Department of Labor, the driver was fired because he refused to drive during a winter storm.
Kentucky-based carrier Freight Rite, Inc. fired the unnamed driver after his refusal. OSHA says that this is a violation of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act.
“Forcing drivers to operate a commercial motor vehicle during inclement weather places their lives and the lives of others at risk,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer, in Atlanta, Georgia. “This order underscores the agency’s commitment to protect workers who exercise their right to ensure the safety of themselves and the general public.”
OSHA has ordered Freight Rite to pay the driver $31,569 in back wages and interest, $100,000 in punitive damages, $50,000 in compensatory damages, and reasonable attorney fees. Additionally, the company will have to re-hire the driver, refrain from retaliating against the employee, and remove any mention of his firing from his record.