Whistleblower Law Blog

Domino’s Truck Driver Reinstated under STAA

In Williams v. Domino’s Pizza, the Department of Labor Administrative Review Board (ARB) affirmed an order requesting Domino’s to reinstate and pay damages to Lavan Williams.  The ARB further held that Williams was engaging in a statutorily protected activity under the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) when he reported to corporate that coworkers attempted to pressure him into working during his rest periods even though Williams refused to name those coworkers.

On October 26, 2007, Williams was involved in a minor accident.  He submitted an accident report and attempted to notify several Domino’s employees.  He could not find the phone number to the accident hotline.  Domino’s procedures require that drivers notify their team leader and contact the Domino’s accident hotline no later than two hours after an accident occurs.  On October 30, 2007, Williams called one of his supervisors to talk about the accident.  His supervisor commented that if Williams had been able to call the compliance hotline, he should have been able to contact the accident hotline.  His supervisor suspended him without pay pending an investigation, and later terminated him.

The ARB rejected Domino’s assertion that Williams was not protected under STAA because he refused to name the coworkers who unlawfully pressured him.  The ARB instead found that Williams’s complaint about being pressured was a contributing factor in his supervisor’s decision to fire him, and affirmed his reinstatement as a truck driver.  The ARB also affirmed the ALJ’s decision to admit into evidence the transcript of an unemployment hearing:

In this matter, the prior statements that Williams sought to introduce as evidence were statements by Domino’s’ agents concerning matters within the scope of the agency, made during the existence of the relationship and were therefore, admissions by a party-opponent and not hearsay.

It is unsafe and illegal for companies to pressure truck drivers into working during their rest periods.  To learn more about reporting illegal employer practices, click here.

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