Can a person be fired for refusing to drive a vehicle that doesn't meet DOT regulations?

My husband has been forced to haul loads with a tractor/trailer that do not meet DOT requirements. When he brought this up to the employers they did nothing to fix it. They put him in a box truck that still requires a Class B and also is subject to DOT laws. The truck also has not been maintained and does not meet the DOT requirements. The driver window was broken while he was on fmla to care for a family member. They refuse to fix it.
Is there a way to get the company to fix this without being subjected to retaliation?

1 answer  |  asked Jun 5, 2015 07:51 AM [EST]  |  applies to Alabama

Answers (1)

Richard Renner
The federal Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA), 49 U.S.C. § 31105, 29 C.F.R. Part 1978, prohibits motor carriers from retaliating against employees for (1) raising compliance or safety concerns, (2) refusing to engage in illegal or unsafe conduct, or (3) initiating or participating in official proceedings.

The safety issues are enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, part of the United States Department of Transportation
http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/contact-us

The anti-retaliation provision is enforced by OSHA.
http://www.whistleblowers.gov/index.html
OSHA's brochure for STAA cases is at:
https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA-factsheet-whistleblower-trans-sector.pdf
You can file an OSHA complaint at:
http://www.whistleblowers.gov/complaint_page.html

The time limit to file a retaliation complaint is 180 days from your first notice of each adverse action.

I recognize that just because it is illegal to retaliate does not mean that retaliation will never happen. Retaliation for raising safety issues is one reason why many truck drivers have chosen to organize unions.

If retaliation does happen, I hope it is helpful to know that remedies exist. If OSHA finds a violation, it can order reinstatement, back pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages (up to $250,000) and attorneys fees and costs.

More information is available at:
http://www.kcnlaw.com/Practice-Areas/Whistleblowers.shtml
http://truckersjusticecenter.com/

posted by Richard Renner  |  Jun 5, 2015 09:55 AM [EST]

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