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Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982

Also known as: STAA; Motor Carrier Employee Protections

Ronald Reagan

Signed into law by Ronald Reagan
January 06, 1983

The whistleblower provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 (STAA) are just a sliver of a major transportation funding and policy act. The law was passed to address concerns for national surface transportation infrastructure. Congress recognized that an effective way to ensure disclosure and reporting of noncompliance with safety regulations for commercial motor vehicles was to create employee protections for whistleblowers. The STAA whistleblower protections are for employees who report certain safety violations and it forbids punishing employees for their efforts to stop violations. This law was strengthened by Section 1536 of The Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act (Public Law 1105-53), where whistleblowers were given even greater rights, remedies, and procedures than before.

Enforcement & Remedies

Under the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 (STAA), employees who suffer illegal workplace retaliation must file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), part of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), within 180 days. OSHA will investigate complaints and can order remedies; employees who are unhappy with the result can appeal to an administrative judge at the DOL, with additional levels of review available within the DOL and in the federal courts. Remedies may include reinstatement, back pay, and special damages as well as litigation costs, expert witness fees, and reasonable attorney fees.

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