Trucking company ordered to reinstate driverPosted On: Jul. 2, 2019 12:12 PM CST
A Kentucky trucking company has been ordered by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to reinstate a driver who refused to drive in hazardous winter weather, according to a news release on Friday.
Freight Rite Inc., based in Florence, Kentucky, was ordered to pay the driver $31,000 in back wages and interest, as well as $100,000 in punitive damages, $50,000 in compensatory damages and attorney fees.
According to OSHA, the employee advised the trucking company’s management of his apprensension about driving a commercial motor vehicle in hazardous road conditions caused by inclement winter weather, which the agency said 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 Kurt Petermeyer, Atlanta-based OSHA regional administrator. "This order underscores the agency's commitment to protect workers who exercise their right to ensure the safety of themselves and the general public."
In addition to reinstating the employee and clearing his personnel file of any reference to the issues involved in the investigation, the employer is enjoined from retaliating against the worker and must also post a notice informing all employees of their whistleblower protections under STAA.