OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program is getting 2014 off to a great start, issuing an order on January 3, 2014 requiring a tucking company to provide relief to a truck driver whose employment was terminated for blowing the whistle on a violation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Ill or Fatigued Operator Rule.
OSHA’s investigation of the whistleblower’s STAA whistleblower retaliation complaint found that the trucking company retaliated against the driver because he notified the company that he was unable to drive because he was sick and taking a prescribed narcotic cough suppressant. FMCSA regulations prohibit a driver from driving a commercial truck if the driver’s ability and/or alertness is impaired by fatigue, illness, or any cause that makes it unsafe to drive a commercial vehicle.
Under the whistleblower protection provision of STAA, truck drivers are protected from retaliation where they engage in protected whistleblowing, which includes:
- Refusing to operate a vehicle because: (i) The operation violates a regulation, standard, or order of the United States related to commercial motor vehicle safety, health, or security; or (ii) He or she has a reasonable apprehension of serious injury to himself or herself or the public because of the vehicle’s hazardous safety or security condition;
- Accurately reporting hours on duty; or
- Cooperating with a safety or security investigation by the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or the National Transportation Safety Board; or
- Furnishing information to the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the National Transportation Safety Board, or any Federal, State, or local regulatory or law enforcement agency as to the facts relating to any accident or incident resulting in injury or death to an individual or damage to property occurring in connection with commercial motor vehicle transportation.
Following an investigation, OSHA can order (1) reinstatement, (2) back pay, (3) compensatory damages, (4) attorney fees and litigation costs; and exemplary or punitive damages up to $250,000.
Experienced Whistleblower Protection Lawyers
Before hiring a lawyer for a high-stakes whistleblower case, assess the lawyer’s reputation, prior experience representing whistleblowers, knowledge of whistleblower laws and prior results. And consider the experience of other whistleblowers working with that attorney. We have extensive experience representing whistleblower under a wide variety of corporate whistleblower protection laws. See our client testimonials by clicking here.
- U.S. News and Best Lawyers® have named Zuckerman Law a Tier 1 firm in Litigation – Labor and Employment in the Washington DC metropolitan area.
- Both Eric Bachman and Jason Zuckerman served on the Department of Labor’s Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations to the Secretary of Labor to improve OSHA’s administration of federal whistleblower protections.
- Firm Principal Jason Zuckerman was recognized by Washingtonian magazine as a “Top Whistleblower Lawyer” in 2015, 2009, and 2007 selected by his peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America® in the category of employment law (2011-2017), and selected by his peers to be listed in SuperLawyers (2012 and 2015-2017) in the category of labor and employment law. is rated 10 out of 10 by Avvo, based largely on client reviews, and rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell based on peer reviews.
- Eric Bachman, Chair of the Firm’s Discrimination Practice, has substantial experience litigating precedent-setting individual and class action discrimination cases. His wins include a $100 million settlement in a disparate impact Title VII class action and a $16 million class action settlement against a major grocery chain. Having served as Special Litigation Counsel in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and as lead or co-counsel in numerous jury trials, Bachman is trial-tested and ready to fight for you to obtain the relief that you deserve.
- The firm has published extensively on whistleblower rights and protections, and speaks nationwide at seminars and continuing legal education conferences. We blog about new developments under whistleblower retaliation and rewards laws at the Whistleblower Protection Blog.
- Eric Bachman and Jason Zuckerman served in senior positions at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, the federal agency charged with protecting whistleblowers in the federal government. At OSC, they oversaw investigations of whistleblower claims and obtained corrective action or relief for whistleblowers.