Carrier ordered to pay back wages, rehire driver fired for refusing to drive over hours

A federal agency has ordered a Massachusetts carrier pay a driver $131,533 after firing him for refusing to drive after reaching the federal limit on hours.

On July 23, the U.S. Department of Labor announced it had directed Brillo Motor Transportation of Marlborough to pay the driver $96,864 in back wages and interest, $9,669 in compensatory damages and $25,000 in punitive damages. It also requires Brillo and its owner Chuck Cappello to rehire the driver discharged in 2010.

Additionally, the agency ordered the three-truck company pay reasonable attorney’s fees for the driver and expunge any adverse references relating to the termination from his personnel file. The department does not release names of employees involved in whistle-blower complaints.

Brillo did not immediately respond to request for comment.

An investigation by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined the carrier violated the Surface Transportation Assistance Act. This law prohibits discrimination against employees who refuse to operate a vehicle in violation of commercial motor vehicle safety.

The company may file objections or request a hearing before the department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges within 30 days of receiving the order.

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