OSHA Forces Company to Rehire Worker Terminated After Raising Safety Concerns
The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has ordered a trucking company in Illinois to rehire an employee who was terminated after reporting safety concerns, according to SafetyNewsAlert.com. Interline Logistics Group LLC in Sauk Village fired a driver after he raised concerns about the brakes on his truck. Interline told the driver to have the truck repaired at a service shop then continue on a load delivery. The driver refused, citing that that he was over the maximum number of work hours allowed for a driver under Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations.
Interline terminated the driver the next day for failure to follow dispatch orders. OSHA did not see it that way. OSHA determined that the driver was in fact fired for reporting a safety violations and refusing to violate DOT regulations. Interline was ordered to rehire the worker and pay him $190,000 in back wages, compensatory damages, attorney’s fees and punitive damages.
“This case sends a clear message that employers are simply not allowed to retaliate against workers for reporting work-related safety concerns,” said OSHA’s David Michaels.
Employees need to be protected when they raise issues about safety. OSHA was right to force Interline to rehire the driver and pay him back wages; this worker did the right thing.
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC—Columbus workers comp attorneys.