When a trucker refused to haul a load of mail until a nonworking light on his assigned trailer was fixed, he was fired. The former truck driver for a Tennessee-based company says he was fired for refusing to “drive trucks with such failures in the future.”
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration ordered Heartland Transportation Inc. of Andersonville, TN, to pay a former driver more than $31,200 in back pay and damages.
The company violated the employee’s rights under the whistleblower provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) after terminating him for “complaining about defective vehicles under CSA rules.”
The driver had complained about mechanical failures on a number of occasions previously, but problems with the trailers kept occurring.
After the driver hauled the load of mail to Pontiac, MI, and returned to the terminal, the driver’s name was removed from the driving schedule, according to the release. He then learned that his employment had been terminated. The driver then filed a whistleblower complaint to OSHA, which conducted an investigation of the trucking company.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website shows that Heartland Transportation has 22 power units and 22 drivers according to paperwork filed with the agency in March of this year.