Judge orders carrier to reinstate driver, pay $90,000 in damages and back pay

After what he deemed as wrongful termination and a retaliatory firing, a Department of Labor judge has ordered that the Boise, Idaho-based Cargo Express award more than $90,000 in damages and back pay to driver T.J. Graff, who refused to drive his carrier-assigned truck after he found an oil and air leak, according to documents released by the court this week.

Judge Lee J. Romero also ordered that Cargo Express reinstate Graff. The carrier had fired Graff for not meeting a monthly miles standard. Romero said that no other drivers had been fired for low mileage during the time period and ruled that Cargo Express must pay Graff $65,767 in back pay and $25,000 in punitive damages.

The court documents say that Graff’s suit was brought under the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982, which prohibits employers from firing or discriminating against employees who have complained about violations of safety regulations or refuse to drive because of said violations.

Graff was originally fired on June 7, 2010 and the case has gone through a variety of hearings, investigations and proceedings since.

Click here to see the order documents released by the Department of Labor.

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