A Michigan asphalt company has been ordered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to pay almost $1 million in compensation and reinstate three employees who were terminated for raising safety concerns, the agency said Monday.
Pontiac, Michigan-based Asphalt Specialists Inc. was ordered to reinstate three employees, two truck drivers and a foreman, to their former positions and pay them a total of $953,916 in damages: $243,916 in back wages to the drivers, $110,000 in compensatory damages and $600,000 in punitive damages, OSHA said in a statement.
Among the incidents cited by OSHA was that one of the truck drivers was terminated in April 2013 after he raised concerns about the number of work hours required by the company and refused to sign an affidavit denying that the worker was required to work in excess of the number of hours legally permitted.
OSHA said the firm had violated the Surface Transportation Assistance Act. “It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against employees who report work-related safety concerns or violations of federal transportation regulations, which require drivers to have a minimum 10-hour rest period between shifts,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels, in the statement. “OSHA is committed to protecting workers from retaliation for exercising basic worker rights.”
A company official could not be reached for comment.