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Feds Cry Foul When Trucking Company Fires Whistleblowing Drivers

Two drivers working for Star Air trucking company were fired after they refused to drive their vehicles until the company complied with safety regulations. Now, the U.S. Department of Labor has filed suit on their behalf seeking to have the drivers reinstated and paid more than $612,000 in back wages and attorney fees.

The drivers had been stopped by West Virginia State Police and cited for hauling an excess load without a commercial driver’s license; operating an overweight trailer; driving a commercial vehicle that did not have the name of the company, its home base and its U.S. Department of Transportation number displayed; and driving without a log book. 

According to a news release issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration

The driver who was cited told the other driver, and both refused to continue driving until these issues were resolved. Consequently, both were terminated. Both drivers filed complaints with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration alleging that Star Air had discriminated against them in retaliation for activities protected by the STAA [Surface Transportation Assistance Act], and a Labor Department administrative law judge issued the order for reinstatement and back wages. Under automatic review provisions, the judge’s decision then was referred to and upheld by the Administrative Review Board, which issues final decisions for the secretary of labor in cases arising under a wide range of worker protection laws.

The case may sound bureaucratic, but according to Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels, what’s at stake is nothing less than the safety of American highways.

“These drivers were fired for trying to protect themselves and the driving public,” he said. “OSHA will continue to defend America’s truck drivers who are retaliated against by unscrupulous employers when they refuse to drive while fatigued, ill, or in violation of truck weight or hours-of-service requirements.” 

The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson provides legal representation to victims of trucking and other commercial vehicle accidents. The Law Offices of Frank Branson is not involved in this case.

Whether the cause of the collision is driver fatigueimproper truck maintenance, and/or improper screening, training and supervision of drivers, the Dallas truck accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson have the experience, resources and technical abilities to determine what happened and who should be held responsible.