A Tennessee worker is being well-compensated after being unlawfully fired from a Brush Creek, Tn trucking company. The Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has ordered the worker be reinstated by his former employer, and they’ll also have to pay him $180,000 in back pay and compensatory, as well as punitive, damages.
According to OSHA, the Tennessee trucking company terminated him illegally after the driver refused to make a delivery because according to federal regulations he would be violating the amount of hours he was allowed to drive and was also sick and fatigued.
Tennessee truck drivers often operate their rigs while exhausted because they push themselves to drive long work hours in order to make deliveries on time. These tired drivers greatly increase the risks of commercial truck accidents. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has reported that every year over 750 people die in traffic accidents caused by fatigued commercial truck drivers.
The Tennessee driver was delivering milk when he slipped, smashing his chest into a ladder. He was in pain, but finished the delivery anyway. Before he headed back to the yard, he was told by his employer to make another unscheduled delivery. He told them he was fatigued and would be violating his allowed hours. Despite his employer’s insistence, the driver refused.
When the driver got back to the yard he was promptly fired. He soon filed a formal whistleblower complaint with OSHA. The Surface Transportation Assistance Act has provision that make it illegal for a company to fire workers turned whistleblowers, a provision that the company evidently violated.
The trucking company insisted that the employee had actually quit, but upon investigation OSHA found that the driver had, in fact, been fired for not making the last unplanned delivery.
According to a regional administrator, ‘America’s truck drivers have the right to refuse to drive when they are fatigued and/ or ill and when they may be in violation of hours-of-service requirements, as permitted by current federal trucking regulations.’
The regulations have been put in place to limit drive hours and to hopefully avoid dangerous commercial truck accidents.
Tennessee Commercial Truck Accident Lawyers
If you’ve been hurt in a Tennessee truck accident, whether it’s by a tired driver or a distracted one, you’ll want compensation for your injuries. Tennessee truck accident lawyers at the McMahan Law Firm have years of experience in fighting insurance companies for the people of Chattanooga, Manchester, Tullahoma, Jasper, and Athens.
Get the help you need, when you’ve been injured in an accident with a commercial truck. Contact the Insiders at the McMahan Law Firm and get a free, no obligation case review.
Source. SafeRoads.org, ‘http://saferoads.org/issues/fs-truckdriverfatigue.htm,’ 2001.
Source. Fleet Owner, ‘http://fleetowner.com/regulations/osha-orders-tennessee-fleet-reinstate-whistleblower,’ Deborah Whistler, May 9, 2012.