Carrier ordered to pay $123k to driver deemed wrongfully fired

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The Department of Labor has ordered an Iowa-based carrier to pay a driver $123,203 in back wages and reinstate him after the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found the carrier to have violated federal retaliation laws.

The driver refused to drive early last year, citing what he called unsafe procedures implemented by the carrier, Absolute Waste Removal, who subsequently fired the driver in February 2013. OSHA says the driver’s dismissal violated provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act.

The STAA protects drivers who refuse to drive for safety reasons from termination or retaliation by their carrier.

Absolute Waste Removal was ordered to reinstate the driver and pay him $23,203 — wages with interest — and to pay him $50,000 in compensatory damages and another $50,000 in punitive damages and attorney’s fees.