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Raising the Standards of the Trucking Industry

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Truck Driver Stands Firm on OSHA Rights, Awarded $190,000

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Professional truck drivers are finally beginning to do something that they have not done for a very long time . . . exercising their rights under employment law.  I have often written about and discussed the rights that truckers have, if only they would stand up and utilize what the law provides them.

On July 15, 2010, our Truth About Trucking “LIVE” broadcast with special guest, attorney Paul Taylor, entitled, “Forced Dispatch,” further expanded on the rights that all truck drivers have as it pertains to OSHA and how they are protected from any kind of retaliation by the trucking company, under the STAA, 49 U.S.C. Section 31105.

Most recently, Interline Logistics Group which is based out of Georgia, was ordered to pay a terminated driver over $190,000 for what OSHA determined was an act of retaliation by the company after the driver reported safety concerns with the tractor’s brakes as well as refusing to violate the hours of service (HOS) rule.  When the driver’s dispatcher told him to go and pick up a load, the driver refused due to already being over the allowed work hours. The driver was terminated for failing to follow dispatch instructions.

The legal rights of the truck driver turned out to be more powerful than the trucking company and the dispatcher discovered that you can not legally force a professional driver to violate HOS rules or to operate the CMV in a way that would violate a Federal Commercial Motor Vehicle Regulation . . .  especially a truck driver who understands their rights under the law.

I can not stress enough that as truck drivers, you have rights, but you must stand up and use those rights when the motor carrier, dispatcher, terminal operator, load coordinator, CEO . . . whoever, refuses to abide by the FMCSA regulations or OSHA compliance and instead, chooses to abuse their authority over the driver.  As a driver, you have protective rights and just as recently as March 1, 2012, OSHA has stated that they are elevating their priority in ensuring “The ability of workers to speak out and exercise their rights without fear of retaliation . . .”

The Whistleblower Protection Program

The Whistleblower Protection Program prohibits any person from discharging or in any manner retaliating against any employee because the employee has exercised rights under the OSH ACT.  Such actions by the trucking company against the driver can include:

  • Firing or laying off
  • Blacklisting  (Such as the use of false information on the DAC Report)
  • Demoting
  • Denying overtime or promotion
  • Disciplining
  • Denial of benefits
  • Failure to hire or rehire
  • Intimidation
  • Making threats
  • Reassignment affecting prospects for promotion
  • Reducing pay or hours

If you believe your motor carrier has discriminated against you because you exercised your legal rights as a professional truck driver, contact your local OSHA Office to file a complaint.

You do have rights.  Stand up, stand firm.

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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 37 year veteran who started at an early age in a household goods family moving business. He began driving straight trucks in 1977 and moved to the big rigs in 1982. His experience within the industry includes; owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and owner of a long distance HHG moving business, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. Allen Smith, a truck driver advocate who is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. Allen and his wife Donna are hosts of Truth About Trucking ”Live” on Blog Talk Radio. Other websites include AskTheTrucker, TruckingSocialMedia, NorthAmericanTruckingALerts, TruthAboutTrucking, and many Social Media websites. In 2011 Allen and Donna hosted the first Truck Driver Social Media Convention, designed to create unity and solutions for the trucking industry. This is now being extended through the North American Trucking Alerts network as those within the industry join forces for the betterment of the industry. Allen strongly supports other industry advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who share honesty, guidance and direction. He believes that all those involved in trucking need to be accountable for their part within the industry, including drivers, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers, etc… The list of supporters and likeminded people grow daily, networking together and sharing thoughts and ideas for the betterment of trucking. He has coined the popular phrase "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

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