Trucker ordered to receive nearly $200,000 after being fired for refusing to drive in bad weather

Updated Jul 2, 2019
Winter photo, Colby, Kan.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to detail the appeal process for the fleet.

A box truck driver will receive nearly $200,000 from a Kentucky-based trucking company who fired the driver after he refused to drive in bad weather.

According to a press release, the DOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), ordered Freight Rite, based in Florence, Kentucky, to reinstate an unnamed box truck driver who was fired after he refused to operate in hazardous road conditions caused by inclement winter weather.

OSHA also ordered the company to pay the driver $31,569 in back wages and interest, $100,000 in punitive damages, $50,000 in compensatory damages and reasonable attorney fees, and to refrain from retaliating against the driver.

“OSHA inspectors determined that the employee advised the company’s management of his reasonable apprehension of danger to himself and to the general public due to the hazardous road conditions,” the agency said in a press release. The driver’s termination was a violation of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act, OSHA added.

Freight Rite can appeal the order by requesting a full hearing before an administrative law judge of the Department of Labor. The administrative law judge’s decision may then be appealed to the Department’s Administrative Review Board.

The driver was not identified because the DOL does not release names of employees involved in whistleblower complaints.