A court has ordered a Chicago-based company to pay a driver nearly $100,000 in back wages after the company allegedly retaliated when the driver reported a workplace injury and an unsafe vehicle.
On July 6, Advanced Disposal Services Solid Waste Midwest LLC was ordered to pay a fired truck driver $95,000 in lost wages and to provide a provide future prospective employers a neutral employment recommendation, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The court ruled in favor of the truck driver in a whistleblower case after the truck driver reported a workplace injury and told the company that an unrepaired truck wasn’t safe to operate.
The court’s action follows an OSHA investigation finding that after the truck driver cited concerns about a vehicle’s safety hazards, a company manager assigned the vehicle to a different driver. The manager then assigned the concerned truck driver to a vehicle with which they were unfamiliar. While operating the vehicle, the driver injured a finger and needed light duty to recover. A company investigation faulted the driver for the injury. The company later fired the driver after management suspected them of reporting unsafe working conditions to the company’s hotline.
OSHA says that it was later determined that the truck driver’s termination was an act of retaliation for employee actions that are protected under whistleblower protection laws.
“We commend this worker for standing up for their rights after suffering an injury and reporting workplace safety hazards that had the potential to injure other workers,” said OSHA Acting Regional Administrator William Donovan in Chicago. “Federal whistleblower laws protect workers from retaliation for reporting injuries and unsafe working conditions.”
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