The transportation industry is highly regulated today, with safety being the top priority for businesses and their drivers. The Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) protects commercial motor vehicle transportation drivers and other workers in the trucking industry who are involved in activities that directly affect truck safety or security.
These employees are in the best position to detect and report safety violations, but they must be protected from retaliation under the law.
How Does the STAA Help Workers?
Through a trucker whistleblower program, STAA provides remedies and protects truck drivers and workers from:
- Employer recrimination for certain commercial motor vehicle safety and security investigations.
- When they refuse to operate a vehicle due to its hazardous safety condition.
- Repercussions following their filing of a complaint about unsafe conditions and accurate reporting hours.
- Repercussions following reporting a federal commercial motor vehicle law associated with violations of safety, health, or security conditions.
Retaliation would encompass any adverse action against an employee because of affairs protected by STAA. It may include discharging, discriminating against, or disciplining a whistleblower in ways such as:
- Intimidation and threats
- wrongful termination
- Denial of promotion
- Denial of overtime, reducing pay or hours.
- Denial of benefits
If an employer in the trucking industry takes action against their employee engaged in whistleblowing, the employee may file a charge with the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) to receive remedies for the illegal discrimination against them.
This law was enacted and enforced to combat the rising number of fatalities, serious injuries, and property damage caused by widespread violations of safety regulations that result in motor vehicle accidents.
Employers are held liable under the STAA for any retaliatory action taken against employees who draw attention to violations of commercial vehicle safety regulations. Employees must be involved in commercial motor vehicle safety activities to qualify. Whistleblowing attorneys should decide whether a situation warrants a lawsuit or a submission. The attorneys understand the applicable federal law and will provide adequate assistance with the case.
Deadlines are critical in all legal claims. Complaints must be filed within 180 days of the alleged retaliatory action against an employee for OSHA review and a safety or security investigation. After the validity of the complaints is determined, an order is issued requiring the employer to provide appropriate relief to the employee based on the facts of the case and retaliatory action taken.
Most employees may find it difficult to gather useful evidence and organize it persuasively in order to win a retaliation case. In this case, attorneys provide a variety of services to help employees recover their rights. The law firm involved should be upfront and honest about attorney fees and how to handle the situation, as well as point you in the right direction at the National Whistleblower Center.
The attorney files a whistleblower complaint with OSHA, seeking back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages for retaliation. The attorney is the point of contact for OSHA.
The attorney will also provide OSHA with pertinent information, such as current contact information and any other potential evidence regarding the allegations, such as emails, phone logs, personal files, work products, meeting minutes, and witness contact information. The lawyer makes certain that the complaints are filed on time and in the proper location.
After that, a lawyer should prepare a written defense known as a position statement that explains their case. They also make certain that the most important facts of the case are disclosed in the initial statement to the OSHA investigator. Finally, a strong, well-documented case should be presented to allow a whistleblower to uncover fraud, receive monetary compensation, and have their identity protected.
Benefits of the Services
The trucker’s whistleblower protection law gives the authority to recover back wages, liquidate employee damages, and assess other violations. You may be unable to file a Qui Tam lawsuit on your own or provide the necessary information under the whistleblower program to expose illegal activities.
In these cases, a lawyer is more likely to successfully complete the process. In dealing with whistleblower cases, a working attorney-client relationship is critical. Employment reinstatement, recoupment of lost wages and benefits, damages for emotional and economic harm, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and litigation costs are among the remedies available to whistleblowers.
Benefits of Getting the Services from Us
Employees must be able to demonstrate that they engaged in a protected activity that resulted in adverse action being taken against them. This is where we come in to support you. J.P. Ward & Associates’ attorneys have extensive experience in employment and Qui Tam law, having represented employees in STAA proceedings before the US Department of Labor and the Federal Court.
We offer a sympathetic ear while carefully considering and assessing the facts of the case. Our attorneys have extensive legal knowledge and guiding experience from working with a variety of clients.
J.P. Ward & Associates provides free consultations through our team of whistleblowing attorneys, who also handle cases involving violations of federal and state laws. We are well-versed in legal cases involving safety violations. We respond quickly to these cases and take the necessary steps to right the wrong done to you by your employer.
We are the appropriate legal professionals who understand the corporate environment and can advise you accordingly. We will assist you in not only realizing your obligation to expose fraudulent activities but also in exploring the possibility of receiving significant rewards for your bravery.
We Can Help
Have you experienced illegal retaliation under the STAA and are experiencing job-related uncertainty? You may have a discrimination claim against your employer under employment law. Do not be hesitant. Filing a complaint and standing up for justice, as well as having an advocate on your side to protect your rights, greatly increases the likelihood of your claim being resolved favorably.
Our qualified team of lawyers at J.P. Ward understands your significant concerns and provides you with the assistance you require. We provide options for moving forward while reducing your stress during these proceedings. Contact one of our whistleblower attorneys at (412) 426-4878 or via our contact form at https://jpward.com/employment-law/ and let us help you win your next battle.