OSHA rules in favor of trucker in New York whistleblower case

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 1/25/2016

A trucker has been awarded more than $45,000 after U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that the trucking company he worked for violated whistleblower laws, according to a Department of Labor press release.

The driver, who was not named, started working for Brindi Trailer Sales and Services of Meridale, N.Y., in 2011. Soon after being hired, the driver informed the company of defective equipment on his truck, including ineffective brakes, steering issues, non-functioning turn signals, leaks and a cracked windshield. The company refused to repair the truck.

In February 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation inspected the truck after the driver reached out to them. PennDOT discovered 16 violations. After notifying the owner of the company, Robert Urbina Brindi, of the truck being pulled from service until repairs were done, the trucker was terminated from his job.

The trucker filed a whistleblower complaint with OSHA soon after being discharged. OSHA found that the driver’s claim had merit and ordered Brindi to pay the trucker $32,642 in lost wages, $10,000 in punitive damages and $3,060.02 in attorney’s fees. Brindi was also ordered to expunge the driver’s employment records.

Both the driver and Brindi have 30 days from the official ruling to object and request a hearing.

Employees are protected by law from any retaliation from employers for bringing up protected concerns or providing protected information to the employer or the government. Anyone who feels they have been unfairly retaliated against by their employers can file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor to request an investigation by OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program.

For more information about whistleblower rights, visit whistleblowers.gov.

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