Emloyment Law Group

Do You Need a Trucking Whistleblower Lawyer?

  • Have you faced retaliation by your employer after reporting a trucking safety violation?
  • Were you harassed or blacklisted because you refused to drive in unsafe conditions?
  • Is your livelihood on the line because you did the right thing and spoke out?

The Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) is a federal law that forbids retaliation against whistleblowers who report safety violations in the trucking industry. Under STAA, employers cannot punish employees who try to stop such violations, or who refuse to operate commercial vehicles unsafely. STAA provides damages for any illegal harm suffered by a good-faith whistleblower. If you were fired illegally, STAA may help you to get your job back.

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Important statutes in this area of law:

The attorneys at The Employment Law Group® law firm are experienced in representing employees in STAA proceedings, both before the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) — which enforces the law — and in federal court.

If you have suffered illegal retaliation under STAA, you may be entitled to reinstatement in your job; back pay for lost wages; front pay for future lost wages; litigation costs and attorney fees; and other special damages.

As with all legal claims, deadlines are crucial. Under the Surface Transportation Assistance Act, employees who suffer illegal workplace retaliation must file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is part of the DOL, within 180 days.

If you’d like to consult with our attorneys, please contact us. To each consultation  client we offer the following.

  • A sympathetic ear
  • A serious consideration of the facts
  • A deep understanding of the law
  • A clear-eyed assessment of your claims

Let our firm’s experience guide you: We have helped many employees before you – in many cases, employees who already had been punished, demoted, or fired by their company.

If we can help you, we will propose some next steps. If not, we will point you in a better direction.

Call or e-mail us and get the process started. You are standing up for justice. You need someone who’ll stand behind you.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What laws protect Commercial Motor Carrier Whistleblowers?

In 2007, President Bush signed The Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (“9/11 Act”). The 9/11 Act amended the STAA by expanding the scope of protected activity and enhancing remedies for commercial motor carrier employees. Under the amended STAA, employees who believe they have suffered adverse action for reporting transportation safety and security violations can file a complaint with OSHA within 180 days of the date on which the adverse action was made and communicated to the employee.

What activities are protected?

An employee engages in protected activity by:

  • Filing a complaint or beginning a proceeding related to a violation of STAA regulations;
  • Refusing to operate a vehicle because the operation would violate a regulation, standard or order related to commercial motor vehicle safety, healthy or security;
  • Accurately reporting hours on duty;
  • Cooperating with a safety or security investigation by various government bodies; or
  • Furnishing information to authorities about an accident that resulted in death or injury to a person in connection with commercial motor vehicle transportation.

What adverse actions are prohibited?

STAA prohibits any action taken by an employer which has a negative effect on the employee’s terms, conditions, or privileges of employment. This includes intimidation, blacklisting, termination, suspension, demotion, reduction in salary, failure to hire, harassment, and any act that would dissuade a reasonable person from engaging in further protected activity.

What must an employee prove to prevail?

To prevail in a STAA case, employees must establish that they engaged in protected activity and that the protected activity likely triggered the adverse action.

How might an employer defend itself?

Once a plaintiff establishes that his or her protected activity likely triggered an adverse action, an employer may avoid liability by providing a legitimate reason for the action. That shifts the burden back to the employee, who must demonstrate that the employer’s stated reason is just a pretext.

What can a prevailing plaintiff recover?

A prevailing plaintiff is entitled to reinstatement, back pay, and compensatory damages. In addition, a prevailing plaintiff can recover exemplary or punitive damages up to $250,000.

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Important statutes in this area of law:

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