On November 16th, 2012, CDL driver, Andrea Cozart-Lundin, did not expect when she walked into her manager’s office to discuss her hours of service – that it would be her last day on the job.
Andrea worked for a government-contracted trucking company in Florida hauling U.S. mail, and thought she would not have had enough hours between her last run and her run scheduled for that evening. She had been running all night and was held up at the post office, making her trip longer than it normally would be. Upon realizing this and doing her fifteen-minute post-trip inspection, she went into her driver manager’s office to discuss being put on an alternative run for that evening. She never for a second believed that walking into this office for a simple conversation would end up changing everything.
As soon she inquired about her hours of service an asked for a different run, her driver manager became angry at her, ranting, “I know the laws, you can’t come into my office and tell me how to operate my business!” She then told Andrea to go home and that she would call her to discuss her next run. Upon hearing back from her manager, Andrea was told “I’m not going to play any games with you about your hours…turn in your badge.”
Andrea never would have thought that trying to question anything regarding safety…being outside of hours of service, being fatigued or ill, or being in a non-mechanically sound truck, would land her in the unemployment line.
She has since decided to seek legal counsel and also filed a whistle-blower complaint with OSHA regarding her rights being violated. Under the Street Transportation Assistance Act (STAA), a driver cannot be retaliated against by an employer for certain federally protected rights. A representative from OSHA is currently investigating the company’s practices.