In a decision issued December 17, 2013 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has found New Prime, Inc. (“Prime”) “willfully and maliciously put negative and false information” on truck driver Brian Ford’s DAC report. Prime originally noted that Mr. Ford had “Abandonment”, “Unauthorized location”, and “Quit under load” on his DAC report. Ford was unable to obtain employment as a commercial truck driver for approximately 9 months because of the defamatory claims Prime made.
While driving on October 25, 2008 Mr. Ford experienced severe pain stemming from an on the job injury. The pain impaired his ability to safely operate his assigned truck-tractor. Thereafter, he sought medical attention. Ford informed Prime that a Doctor prescribed him narcotics for the pain and was put on a strict work restriction due to his injury. When Ford later sought work he was repeatedly denied employment because of the information Prime had put on his DAC report.
OSHA found that Prime violated the law when it blacklisted Mr. Ford because he refused to operate a commercial vehicle while impaired due to medical conditions and while under the influence of prescribed narcotics.
According to OSHA, Prime claimed that the blacklisting was inadvertent. OSHA was not persuaded by Prime’s defense and ruled in favor of Mr. Ford under Section 405 of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) which prohibits retaliation against drivers because they make safety-related complaints or because they refused to drive in violation of commercial vehicle safety regulations.
OSHA ordered Prime to pay Mr. Ford Lost wages, compensatory damage, and punitive damages exceeding $101,000. Prime is also to expunge Mr. Ford’s employment records and his DAC report records leaving him with a clean record of employment under Prime.
Mr. Ford was represented by Paul O. Taylor, an attorney with Truckers Justice Center in Burnsville, MN.
A complete copy of OSHA’s decision can be found by following this link: http://www.truckersjustice.com/OSHADecision12_17_13.pdf