Carrier to pay $262k to drivers fired for participating in FMCSA investigation

| August 20, 2014

Gaines Motor Lines has agreed to pay $262,500 to four former drivers who the Department of Labor deemed to be fired in violation of federal whistleblower protection laws.

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This amount is considerably less than the $1.07 million that OSHA originally ordered the carrier to pay, as Gaines appealed the ruling that was announced last November. OSHA spokesperson Michael D’Aquino said a mediator helped decide the new settlement, which does not include the punitive damages included in the original settlement. All back wages, however, were still awarded, D’Aquino says.

The new settlement also includes compensatory damage and some interest on the back pay.

The four drivers were fired by the Hickory, N.C.-based carrier after they participated in an inspection audit, which uncovered log violations, OSHA says.

The employees were interviewed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration between Feb. 28 and March 1, 2012, and the drivers were fired on March 8, following FMCSA’s issuance of citations over what it uncovered in the investigation.

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The DOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration says the firings violated provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act.

OSHA’s settlement with the company also includes owners Tim Gaines and Rick Tompkins.

OSHA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently announced they’ll be collaborating on cases like this to better assist truck operators in potential whistleblower claims.

  • guest

    Sure…Gaines has been committing these CRIMES since 1947. They are Typical of Rich Companies that have screwed truck drivers all these years…and got RICH in the process…today they are Upset that this New Breed turns them into the COPS!! lol

  • David S. McQueen

    It seems odd that a trucking company like Gaines (which is not a fly-by-night outfit) would be so ignorant of the federal law that protects workers who assist in a legal investigation. Anyone in a business that operates commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce should understand the federal and state laws that apply to their business. If the company can afford to buy or lease CMVs, it certainly can afford to get legal advice.

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