$1 Million Dollar Penalty Paid By Asphalt Company for Illegal Termination of Its Employees
Asphalt Specialists Inc. in Michigan wrongfully terminated 2 of its drivers and its foreman. And OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) acted on such commercial trucker wrongful termination so that justice be served. As a result, the said company paid a fine of $1 Million dollars in total for violating the Surface Transportation Assistance Act.
OSHA report showed that terminated drivers and foreman lost their jobs because they voiced out their concerns to their company’s owner on the lengthy hours of work imposed on them without granting them the rest period as stipulated by the law. One of the two drivers was terminated after he did not agree to sign the affidavit stating that he was not asked to work longer than what was allowed by the law. The other driver lost his job when he expressed his concern regarding his driving hours and voiced out vehicle maintenance issues.
“Under the law, employers need not strike back on their employees who will report certain violations on the country’s federal transportation laws. The law states that drivers must be given 10 hours to rest after one’s shift before he will be allowed to go on to the next shift”, stated Dr. David Michaels; the Assistant Secretary of OSHA. “The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s mission is to protect employees from retaliation of their employers simply because they want to exercise their basic rights as a worker”, he added.
As a result, Asphalt Specialists Inc. was mandated by the court to give back the jobs of their employees. Furthermore, they were required to award them $1 million dollars as compensation for their former positions, benefits and rights.
This served as a lesson to all truck operators who do not follow the law when operating their business. Safety has to be maintained in their workplace. Hence OSHA compliance is required. It is also the responsibility of any trucking company to orient and update themselves with all the existing requirements and standards set by OSHA. Otherwise, one may be caught by surprise when some of their employees will complain on their working conditions.
Any unsafe working condition of any truck driver can now be appealed including harassment, retaliation and blacklisting. And any of these employees can hire a Whistleblower lawyer to fight one’s case in court once they become victim of wrongful termination for voicing out the company’s failure to follow the law . So for all trucking operators, you better watch out.