Trucking company ordered to give fired whistleblower�s job back

| 3/1/2011

A truck driver who was fired two years ago should get his job back and more than $100,000 in damages. He had complained to his Tennessee-based employer about a company-owned truck?s mechanical problems.

The U.S. Department of Labor?s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has ordered Memphis-based United Auto Delivery and Recovery/Memphis Auto Action, to reinstate driver William Beecher and pay Beecher $111,000 in back wages, interest, compensatory damages and punitive damages.

The 50-driver company is a commercial motor carrier that provides vehicle repossession service and sells and auctions recovered vehicles in the Midwest.

According to OSHA, in February 2009, a supervisor agreed with Beecher?s suggestion that he leave work and return when the truck was fixed. The next day, however, Beecher was fired.

?Employees have the legal right to report unsafe driving situations, not only for their own safety, but also to protect the public from unsafe trucks on the roads,? Cindy Coe, OSHA regional administrator, in a statement. ?OSHA will not allow trucking companies to retaliate against drivers who are exercising their rights.?

Either party can file an appeal of the case with the Labor Department?s Office of Administrative Law Judges.

Last year, OSHA ruled in favor of OOIDA Members Curtis Firebaugh and Jack Martin. They  lost their jobs after complaining about a welded leaf spring on one of the now defunct Bertolini Trucking trailers.

Firebaugh and Martin recently received checks for $4,500 each after OSHA found in their favor.

Because Bertolini Trucking CEO Brian Bertolini and the company filed bankruptcy and owed millions of dollars to debtors, Firebaugh recently told Land Line he believes the $4,500 check is likely all he will see.

OSHA posts detailed information on employee whistleblower rights.