Jane Pietro worded for Little Tikes for 31 years, 25 of which she worked as a regional and long-distance driver. According to the Akron Beacon Journal Online, Pietro complained multiple times over a year and a half time period about the brakes on her truck to her dispatcher.
One day before her termination, Pietro was subjected to a random inspection. During the inspection, the inspector found three violation and issued citations.
According to the lawsuit, when Pietro informed her dispatcher of the citations, the dispatcher accusing her of “tipping off” the inspector to the truck’s issues.
“Upon getting back to Little Tikes, her dispatcher accused her of pointing out the vehicle defects to the inspector. The next day, she was terminated,” Pietro’s attorney Jay Linnen Jr. said told the Akron Beacon Journal. “We believe there’s a connection between her complaints of the vehicle defects and her ultimate termination.”
The next day, on June 6, Pietro was fired. The company cited insubordination as the reason for the termination.
“There was a heated exchange between my client and her immediate supervisor, which is the dispatcher. My client says he was giving her a hard time because it didn’t pass a random inspection. They have a different view of why she was terminated. He claims she walked off,” Linnen said. “There may have been some profanity used by my client, but ultimately the motivation was the fact that she had made many complaints about the condition of her vehicle, the brakes and the condition of the tires.”
Pietro and her attorney are suing under the whistle-blower statute that allows employees to file a complaint regarding a situation or circumstance that may put themselves or the public at risk, without fear of retribution from their employer.
Pitero is a single mom and says she has had trouble finding a new job since her termination. She is suing to have her job reinstated, for back pay and interest, attorney’s fees and for an order preventing the company from further retaliation.