In August 2009, Jason Ford, a Heartland Transportation driver, was ordered to take a load to Pontiac, Michigan when he realized his trailer lights weren’t working. Ford reported the problem to Heartland and had the trailer’s light fixed.
According to OSHA, Ford had complained to Heartland about such problems before. Ford reportedly informed Heartland he would not drive defective equipment.
After Ford returned from delivering the load in Michigan, he learned he had been taken off the route and had been fired.
“I was kicked to the curb with no income to pay bills because I decided to stand up and say what I felt was right and wrong,” Ford wrote. “I was looking out for my life and the lives of people in the community.”
Ford filed a complaint with OSHA, and after a three year battle, Ford was awarded $31,200 ” including $9,895 in back pay settlement.
Heartland Transportation violated the Surface Transportation Assistance Act when the company fired Ford for refusing to operate unsafe machinery, which protects employees for voicing safety concerns.