A Review Of The Laws That Protect Truck Drivers
Employers are prohibited by federal law from demoting, firing, or discriminating against employees. This law also safeguards the rights of truck drivers. Furthermore, if a truck driver does not go against traffic rules or operates their vehicle in a manner that does not violate federal commercial vehicle regulations; they cannot face any retaliation by the trucking company in accordance to STAA, 49 U.S.C. Any retaliation by the trucking company should be reported to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) or FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations). Read on to learn more about the protections afforded to truck drivers.
OSHA Rights in Relation to Truck Drivers
The OSHA Act offers protection to employees who report to OSHA, government authorities, or their employers regarding unhealthy or unsafe working conditions at the workplace or about environmental problems. The STAA (Safety Transportation Assistance Act) prevents truck companies from using retaliatory measures towards drivers who invoke their rights in accordance with the OSHA Act. The FMCSA calls on truck drivers, who encounter safety violations by trucking companies, to report their employers to the authorities.
Some of the protections offered by the Surface Transportation Assistance Act include:
- Declining from operating a vehicle when impaired by fatigue or illness
- Declining from operating a vehicle that is above the required weight restrictions
- Declining from exceeding speed limits or driving in hazardous conditions
- Declining from operating a vehicle that has an inadequate adjustment, leaky exhaust system, or defective lamp
- Declining from falsifying a log book
- Declining from violating hours of service regulations
- Making complaints to the U.S. Department of Transport regarding violations of commercial vehicle safety regulations
The STAA prohibits trucking companies that discriminate or retaliate towards drivers who perform their OSHA obligations. Discrimination includes any of the following acts:
- Assigning undesirable shifts
- Laying off or firing
- Denying benefits, promotion, or overtime
- Transferring or reassigning work
Compensation for Truck Drivers
According to the STAA, truck drivers are supposed to be compensated for their claims. Their compensation may be in form of back pay, front pay, reinstatement, attorney fees, and damages like loss of reputation, and emotional distress.
Truck drivers are also entitled to equitable remedies. These include; posting information regarding the case on the truck company’s work sites, and purging negative information on the employee from personnel records.
How to File a Complaint
The complaint can be forwarded to OSHA either verbally or in writing. According to the Department of Labor’s regulations, complaints should not take any particular form. Complaints are to be in writing and sent via certified mail to ensure there is no issue regarding the date the claim was filed. Complaints can also be sent to OSHA via their online portal.
When drafting complaints, it is important that the complainant provide details on those responsible for the retaliation. The persons who performed the discriminatory acts are individually responsible for their actions. An attorney can make it simpler for you to file a complaint. For more on how a truck driver attorney can help visit https://ustruckaccidentattorneys.com/california-truck-accident-attorneys/.
Statute of Limitation for Filing a Complaint
The time limit for filing a STAA complaint is 180 days beginning from the time you first caught wind of the management’s decision to impose certain adverse action. If you receive a disciplinary letter and you file a complaint, the time limit begins from the time you received the letter, not when the arbitrator issues its verdict on the issue.
A legal concept known as “equitable tolling“, may be applied to extend the time limit for filing your complaint. If you were hospitalized on the 180th day, or innocently filed the complaint to the wrong address, you may be pardoned under the tolling concept.