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by: Mark S. Schuver

Employment Laws Protect Truck Drivers Who Report Safety Concerns or Who Refuse to Drive an Unsafe Truck

Many truck drivers are faced with the dilemma of violating hours of service rules or operating unsafe trucks out of fear that if the refuse to do so, they will lose their jobs.  However, most truck drivers are unaware that Federal and State laws exist that prohibit trucking companies and other employers from firing, demoting, or in any other way discriminating against an employee for refusing to violate a law related to safety.

 The Surface Transportation Assistance Act (the “STAA” for short) is a federal law enacted by Congress to ensure increased compliance in the trucking industry with commercial motor vehicle safety regulations.  In order to achieve this purpose, the STAA provides protections for employees by making it unlawful for their employers to discharge, discipline or discriminate against them for refusing to operate a commercial motor vehicle due to safety concerns.

The STAA covers a wide range of safety-related circumstances, including some of the most common issues faced by truck drivers, such as:

  • Refusing to violate hours of service regulations;
  • Refusing to operate a commercial motor vehicle that has a safety defect or violation;
  • Refusing to operate a commercial motor vehicle in unsafe weather conditions;
  • Refusing to operate a commercial motor vehicle in a way that would violate a Federal Commercial Motor Vehicle (FMCSA) regulation;
  • Reporting or complaining about safety violations or issues.

Mark Schuver and other members of MM&R’s Litigation Team have successfully represented truck drivers who have been discharged, disciplined or terminated for reporting safety concerns.  Their winning clients have recovered large damages awards, including:  (1) back pay with interest; (2) front pay; (3) reinstatement of employment; (4) damages for mental anguish and emotional distress; (5) attorney’s fees and costs; (6) expert witness fees; and (7) punitive damages.

Professional Services Disclaimer: Please note that the information presented here is as an educational service, and while it contains information about legal issues, it is not legal advice. No warranty is made regarding the applicability of the information presented to a particular client situation, and the information set forth is not a substitute for original legal research, analysis and drafting for a particular client situation.