Hampshire Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a truckdriver
that lost his job after he objected to working on his only day
off. The high court overturned an earlier decision by the state
Labor Department, calling it "unjust and unreasonable."
Sr., previously employed by Fred Fuller Oil Co., was ordered
to work on a January 1996 Sunday after working the entire week
because of a suspension of hours-of-service rules for fuel drivers
during the unusually harsh winter, according to a court document.
For personal reasons, he asked for the day off.
was told to speak directly with owner Fred Fuller if he wanted
the day for rest. Fuller told Leonard if he refused to work,
he would be fired, the court said. Leonard dropped off the truck
later and did not return to work.
later filed a complaint under the state's Whistleblower's Protection
Act, claiming he was fired for reporting a violation of state
labor law to his boss. The state "day of rest" law
forbids businesses from requiring employees to work on Sundays
unless they have another scheduled day off during the week.
Board ruled Leonard failed to report the violation because he
did not mention the law in his conversation with Fuller. It
also determined Leonard had not pursued all internal remedies
to get his job back.
court said Leonard was not required to cite the law because
Fuller should have known that Leonard was referring to his rights
under the statute. It also ruled that Leonard had pursued the
company's recommended remedy by calling Fuller in the first
place and ordered the agency to decide on an appropriate remedy.