A Houston company was ordered to pay a former worker nearly $24,000 after he was fired for refusing to drive beyond the limits set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ordered Houston-based mobile crane rental company Crane Masters to pay a former driver nearly $14,000 in back wages, interest, and compensatory damages, and $10,000 in punitive damages. 

According to OSHA, the driver was fired in June 2020 after he had worked 19 hours the previous day and refused to violate federal Hours of Service (HOS) requirements by driving the next day.

Following a federal whistleblower investigation into Crane Masters, OSHA determined that the company had violated the Surface Transportation Assistance Act by retaliating against the driver for refusing to break safety rules.

“Crane Masters Inc. punished a driver who refused to jeopardize their safety and that of others on the road by violating federal laws that restrict how many hours a truck driver may operate a commercial vehicle each day,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Eric Harbin in Dallas. “Commercial truck drivers, mechanics and other workers are critical to our nation’s transportation infrastructure and our economy, but they should never be forced to put themselves or others at risk because of an employer’s concern for profit, or fear retaliation for exercising their legal rights.”

You can click here to learn more about OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program.

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