UPS Ordered to Pay for Worker Fired for Demanding Safety Device
Monday, November 25, 2019 | 1046 | 0 | 25 min read
The U.S. Department of Labor determined UPS Ground Freight violated the Surface Transportation Assistant Act by retaliating against a driver in New Hampshire who refused to operate a vehicle that didn’t have an electronic logging device.
The agency ordered UPS freight to pay the driver $15,273 in compensatory damages, $30,000 in punitive damages, and approximately $2,700 in back wages plus interest.
OSHA investigators determined the driver in March refused in good faith to drive a truck without either an electronic logging device because he believed doing so would violate the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Logging devices automatically record an operator's driving time and facilitate the accurate recording of a driver's hours of service.
Investigators also determined that the driver's supervisor was not trained on requirements for the logging devices and company managers attempted to coerce the complainant into violating the regulation. When he refused, the company terminated him for “gross insubordination.”
The investigation revealed that the company later modified the driver's termination to a suspension and engaged in post-reinstatement harassment.
OSHA also ordered the company to take additional corrective actions, including:
- Clear the driver's personnel file of any reference to the issues involved in the investigation.
- Post a notice informing all employees of their whistleblower protections.
- Refrain from firing or discriminating against any employee who engages in protected activity.
- Not use a driver's refusal to drive because of a good faith concern that doing so would violate a federal regulation as a contributing factor in any termination decision.