OSHA rules in favor of trucker who refused to drive while ill

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 4/12/2017

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has ruled in favor of a driver for Frito Lay who accused the company of disciplining him for refusing to report to work due to illness and fatigue, OSHA documents reveal.

In an OSHA complaint, Joshua Bailey claims he was issued “progressive disciplines” in December 2015 and February 2016. Baily accuses Traci Wiegert and Rick Pederson, two managers at Frito Lay, of violating the Surface Transportation Assistance Act, or STAA.

In November 2015 and February 2016, Bailey refused to drive his truck while ill and fatigued. Bailey even supplied a doctor’s note, which Wiegert acknowledged she received. Regardless, Bailey was placed on “Decision-Making Leave” after the first occurrence and “Written Status” after the second.

STAA protects drivers who refuse to operate a commercial vehicle if it violates regulations or standards related to commercial vehicle safety, health or security. Drivers are also protected in refusing to drive if there is reasonable concern for serious injury to the driver or the public as a result of the truck’s hazardous safety or security condition.

According to regulation 49 CFR 392.3, “No driver shall operate a commercial motor vehicle … while the driver’s ability or alertness is so impaired, or so likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness or any other cause, as to make it unsafe for him/her to begin or continue to operate the commercial motor vehicle.” Consequently, Bailey was protected by STAA to refuse to drive.

OSHA ruled that Bailey be paid more than $17,000, including $10,000 in punitive damages, $1,500 in compensatory damages, and $5,915 for attorney’s fees.

Copyright © OOIDA