Volume 2, Issue 8 – April 30th, 2014
OSHA is seeking back wages and damages of more than $100,000 from a New Prime Inc., a Missouri- based truck fleet, for retaliating against a former driver who sought medical attention for an injury.
OSHA ordered the firm to pay the driver $41,373 in back wages and $60,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. The agency alleged that the carrier had violated federal law by blacklisting the driver from work in the trucking industry.
New Prime denies the allegation and is appealing the decision.
Robert Kulick, the OSHA regional administrator whose office conducted the investigation, said, “Blacklisting an employee and sabotaging a worker’s career is unacceptable.
OSHA will not tolerate employers retaliating against its employees for reporting violations.”
Kulick stressed that such actions can have a dangerous ripple effect if employees are compelled to drive when unwell or under medication because they are afraid they will lose their livelihood.
According to OSHA, the driver notified his supervisors that he had sustained an on-the-job back injury and was seeking medical attention. A month later he provided documentation to management that the condition was serious enough to prevent him from returning to work because he had been prescribed medications that made operating a commercial motor vehicle unsafe, OSHA said.
A year later the driver’s physician released him for full duty. He decided not to return to New Prime and began seeking employment elsewhere in the trucking industry.
After being rejected for a job, the driver learned his former employer had submitted damaging and misleading information to a pre-employment and drug testing screening service, OSHA said.
That information had then appeared on the driver’s Drive-A-Check Report, an employment history submitted by trucking industry employers.