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Driver awarded $115k, reinstatement in refusal to drive case

| August 13, 2014

A truck driver has been awarded $115,000 in back wages and reinstatement at her former job after the Department of Labor deemed she was wrongfully terminated for refusing to drive.

The DOL’s Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration has ordered Terry Unrein, a contractor based in Gresham, Ore., to reinstate the driver, who he fired in 2011 after she refused to drive her truck that she said had inadequate tread.


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In an attempt to ensure truck drivers’ protections under federal anti-retaliation laws, FMCSA and OSHA have agreed to begin sharing information with one another when ...

The tire’s tread depth violated federal rules, OSHA says, and the firing was deemed retaliatory and violated provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act.

“We will enforce whistleblower provisions to the fullest extent of the law to protect employees, who should not be retaliated against for following the law,” said Ken Atha, acting OSHA regional administrator.

The driver filed a whistleblower complaint after the firing. The decision can be appealed to the DOL’s Office of Administrative Law Judges.

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

    That contractor needs to hire Ex con’s and illegal aliens….they dont complain about much. The new breed will call the cops….this aint the OLD DAYS..the contractor needs to get a CLUE?? It aint

  • Paul Taylor

    Here is a link to a copy of the OSHA decision:

    I am informed that the employer will be appealing. An appeal does not stop the reinstatement. Nor will an appeal prohibit the driver for asking for more than OSHA awarded, such as an award for mental pain and punitive damages up to $250,000.

    Paul Taylor
    (Attorney for the driver)

  • Craig Vecellio

    Go get ’em! There’s a lot more of this going on than people realize, and it’s hard to prove. The public perception is that all drivers are ‘outlaw cowboys’ who don’t care about how they do their job as long as they make money.

  • vickie Lee thomas

    I WISH that all drivers had her courage. Maybe there won’t be so much junk on the highway. I’ve been driving for 42 years and more and more drivers don’t know that they can be heard and listened to. They drive unsafe units. No lights, faulty brakes, bad rubber, no A/C or heat so the driver can’t rest. I know I’ve been there and done that.

  • Ziggy Fry

    Hey fuck you. I’m an ex-felon and I dont run illegal or haul or drive junk equipment!!!! Most of the assholes that get busted at my company are you so called law biding citizens. Oh by the way I’ve been driving over the road since 1995 no tickets or accidents ever. I’ll put my driving record up against yours any day!!!!

  • Dr Duke

    This is great. I hope it gets your name out there and lets drivers know they have options. If you take a chance and drive junk and kill some one you will go to jail not the company. Hopefully this gets the point across to more companies that drivers are not to be pushed around. Remember friends don’t let friends drive junk!

  • guest

    No vulgarity allowed in these comments you lame jack ass…….piece of garbage…go die.

  • Ziggy Fry

    Yeah looks like you dont practice what you preach. You must be a bleeding heart liberal piece of shit. Why don’t you go sit on a sharp stick!!!!

  • Flaco Jimenez

    I knew this had to be your client, Paul. Congrats.

  • Shannon G Miller

    Reward the snitches for telling. Then hurt the contractor trying to make a living. The loss of her job was justified. Do what your employer tells you to do and make adjustments to protect yourself. I hate rats..

  • Gary

    Great job Paul! Thanks for looking out for us. Wish there were more out there like you. Gary

  • Trampis Coner

    Yeah do as they tell you no matter what. Then when the junk kills somebody you can go to prison for them too. Your comment is the most stupid comment I’ve read in a long time. I only hope you’re not on the road.

  • Shannon G Miller

    Everyone has made it to one destination or another on a bad tire. Illegal tread never killed anyone unless it’s on a steer. I hate these drama queen drivers that wanna look for reasons to cost the company money. Snitches get stitches for talking like

  • eddie jakelsky

    Great job, its time companies learn the value of human life…. not just a number…

  • michael stark

    Hey Shannon…let me ride next to your family in their car…and when the tread on the super single tire I have on my truck that my employer is forcing me to drive comes apart and goes thru the widshield of your car and kills your family I bet you’ll be singing a different tune wont ya.

  • Shannon G Miller

    We can go over a thousand different what if this or that happens. What did happen was a snitch got awarded 115k. Go celebrate laziness and insubordination. You and all the drama queens out there who hide behind what’s right and safety first. I support hard workers who get the job done and are loyal to the employers. Loose lips sink ships. And when the ship sinks all the rats drown.

  • John

    Wow ,Shannon…You know all the cool criminal phrases. You must be really smart..NOT! You must be an Idiot! Your comments don’t even make any sense. It must be lonely in that little made up world you are living in all alone…Idiots like you are the ones that laws protect safe Drivers like us from. Fools Like You Keep True EvenThough Its Stupid Shit They Do. Lol

  • Riley G

    Wait a minute who is being lazy and insubordinate? Doesn’t the company owner have to subordinate to the Federal Dot? If a company doesn’t maintain their equipment they will pay for that laziness in one way or another. This driver may have been trying to save the company money in the long run. As an Owner/Operator my CDL is my livelihood. If I want to keep driving I need to follow rules including watching my tire tread. It’s less expensive to replace a tire than a tire, rim, mudflap, fender, and anything else that a blowout destroys. I’m not going to celebrate that this driver won, I will however say that I just learned a $115k lesson.

  • USMC 69-75

    I’ve been saying that for years…..glad to see it took a woman with balls enough to stand up and do something.

  • USMC 69-75

    What does 1970 have to do with anything? I wouldn’t drive junk then and I wouldn’t today…….drivers are in control if they want to be, but most are to spineless.
    I know, I know…..I have a family to feed, bills to pay etc.etc…..I’ve heard the lines for years, when in reality, they are just excuses for not having what it takes to stand up for oneself!

  • USMC 69-75

    and rotate!

  • USMC 69-75

    What makes her a rat for refusing to drive junk?
    Only scabs run junk…… How does one do as they are told “drive a truck needing tires” then make adjournments once on the road, and being pulled by the DOT, or having a tire blow out and possibly injuring one of your family members……OH! Then it’s a different story, yeah right!

  • USMC 69-75

    You sound like the only drama queen on here Shannon! You and all your stupid cheap cliches’. I won’t allow a driver to pull junk down the road. My name is on the line as well as my reputation with my customers. That’s why I get the big dollars, and good equipment, pay my O/O’s good money, because I honor “Hard HONEST work”. It is “safety first” so that we can all work tomorrow, and my people get home safe and sound. Go peddle your “jail house rock” someplace else.

  • Shannon G Miller

    All this whining sissy sympathy bullshit. Praising a snitch as some Wonder Woman super hero. Fuck the DOT and fuck all you imaginary out of touch drivers that pretend to be squeaky clean. Life isn’t black and white. There is a million shades of gray. That’s the reality of the situation. Go point your fingers at me the bad guy for keeping it real. I’m laughing all the way to the bank. Final comment
    I ain’t got no worries!!!!

  • USMC 69-75

    Most scabs don’t have any worries (bottom feeders)….. You seem to be the finger pointer, but that is the typical Saul Alinsky way, point fingers at others, when in reality your pointing at yourself!!! So you take your trashy mouth, attitude and barry check, to the bank?
    Glad your done……I am too!

  • guest

    You are a promoter for Ex Convicts and other criminals in trucking. You are probably a dispatcher for a Shady Company that runs Junk and Hires low paid idiots like yerself….lol. Why would a Normal Human Being want to hire scum of the earth like You? Yuk…it is a New Day in trucking…OLD ex convicts are undesireable and basically Unhireable in Today’s Trucking….what value are ya? You are an OLD dying breed…..soon SKUNKS like YOU with yer Vulgar and Offensive language willbe gone forever from Trucking…you disgusting weasil.

  • guest

    You and this Ex con must have been Cell mates?? You both have Anal Fixation….you rediculous old chump.

  • jim stewart

    Hey, great job Paul, now go try collect from one of those mega steamship lines, chassis pools, or the bottom feeding intermodal companies (which will just close up shop and reopen under another name in the morning). This would keep you busy for eternity or most probably get you a visit from the men in black claiming you were interfering with foreign companies doing business here like red China’s Cosco lines! I’ve been banned from dozens of dispatches because of refusing to pull s#*t chassis with bad brakes or bad tires. Of course then I really didn’t give a crap because in the world of intermodal you could have another lease/trip lease by mid morning the same day. I certainly don’t miss any of those colorful port trucking adventures.. Sadly most down at the docks now suck it up and do whatever dispatch demands they do.. If you ever won a case or two against the chassis “slum Lords” maybe drivers at the ports might step up for their slice of the pie.. If nothing else it would be a new interesting twist to your victory here!

  • USMC 69-75

    You and your hypercritical self can P_ _ S off! Have to hide behind “guest?” What a lame excuse of human garbage.

  • Jeremiah

    your lack of proper grammer and ignorant comment are not surprising coming from a felon. you still have a lot of going up to do garbage mouth.

  • guest

    Another PROUD Ex Convict…
    Your language relects how much you have
    been “re-habilitated” and blend so WELL in society. Planning more crimes you P.O.S.???

  • Ziggy Fry

    I apologize for the foul language everyone. It was rude of me. My point was I am an ex felon convicted 24 years ago of breaking into a store to still some alcohol. I was young and stupid. I took my punishment and havent been in trouble since. Trucking has been in my family for as long as I remember. I had teo of my own trucks and I wouldn’t expect my driver to drive junk equipment. I just think it was a bad comparison for you to say all ex cons are alike. When like I said most of the banditos at the company I’m with now are not ex cons but they are doing illegal stuff. Which if they get caught they might just be a convict afterward. Haha

  • Paul Taylor

    Yes. It has been going on for years. President Reagan signed the law which protects drivers from retaliation for actions which advance commercial vehicle safety back in 1982 as such retaliation was recognized as a problem even back then. I have been handling these type cases since 1996 and have handled about 700 of them. We have only begun to scratch the surface. Even respectable companies like UPS have been nailed.

  • Ginny Sutton

    So sad you you have to say all ex felons are bad most of them arent. I know know a few that drive trucks and they are model citizens. I am jot hiding behind a guest tag either. You are a disgrace to truckers everywhere.

  • Ginny Sutton

    Shannon trust me I would rather tell the boss to go to hell then pulling a trailer with bad tires if a tire comes off the trailer it could kill someone at highway speeds. Grow up and realize that. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.