The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has ordered a Washington-based trucking company to compensate a truck driver who was suspended, then fired, for refusing to drive while sick.
Oak Harbor Freight Lines Inc. allegedly retaliated against workers who refused to drive trucks while too ill or fatigued to safely operate vehicles. One driver, in particular, was suspended without pay indefinitely. Then the company fired the driver after he notified the company that he was sick and “taking a prescribed narcotic cough suppressant.”
The former driver filed a complaint under the Surface Transportation Assistance Act or STAA. This act protects drivers from retaliation for refusing to violate truck safety laws that protect them and the public.
“Punishing workers for exercising their right to refuse driving assignments is against the law,” said David L. Mahlum, OSHA’s acting regional administrator in Seattle, Washington. Oak Harbor put its attendance policies before the safety of its drivers and that of the public.
The trucking company has been ordered to pay the driver for lost wages and remove any disciplinary notices from his file.
If you are concerned about your health or safety at work, you may want to file a complaint with OSHA. Hazards and safety violations can be found in any workplace, and it’s possible that you could become sick or injured. You may file a claim to receive workers’ compensation benefits that provide fully paid medical care, pay for lost wages, and a cash settlement.
Have questions about your NJ work injury? A Morristown workers’ comp lawyer can help. Manfred Ricciardelli has over 20 years of experience representing injured workers in New Jersey. He will determine if you have a case and help you get the benefits you and your family deserve. For a free consultation, call 973-285-1100 or fill out our online contact form today.