US Department of Labor orders San Jose trucking company to pay damages, back wages after investigation finds retaliation for reporting safety concerns
SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Department of Labor has ordered a San Jose trucking company to pay more than $145,000 in back wages and damages after a federal whistleblower investigation found the company retaliated against two workers who refused to drive commercial motor vehicles when they felt too sick or fatigued to drive safely.
Investigators with the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined Transdev Services Inc. issued disciplinary points to the two drivers after they reported their inability to operate the vehicles. The points led to the termination of one worker. The company’s actions violated the Surface Transportation Assistance Act’s whistleblower provisions.
OSHA ordered Transdev Services to reinstate the fired employee and remove disciplinary points from the records for their refusals to drive. The agency also required the company to pay the terminated driver $95,000 in back wages and damages and pay $50,000 in damages to the other worker.
“Employees who report workplace safety concerns are protected by federal law against retaliation of any kind,” explained OSHA Regional Administrator James D. Wulff in San Francisco. “In this case, two drivers alerted Transdev Services of their concerns for their safety and that of others and were punished for doing so. This is illegal and employers need to know that they will be held accountable for violating worker’s rights.”
In addition to the back wages and penalties, OSHA ordered Transdev Services to train managers, post a notice informing their employees of workers protection rights under federal law, and revise company policy to comply with the Surface Transportation Assistance Act.
Transdev Services may appeal the order to the department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges.
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of STAA and 24 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various motor vehicle safety, commercial motor carrier, airline, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, healthcare reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, securities, tax, antitrust, and anti-money laundering laws and for engaging in other related protected activities. For more information on whistleblower protections, visit OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Programs webpage.