Finally get that promotion? Get exclusive content, tips and tools to help you excel.
Implicit bias occurs when individuals make judgments about people based on gender, race or other prohibited factors without even realizing they’re doing it.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 12 cities across the U.S. this spring.
#SHRM18 will expand your perspective – on your organization, on your career, and on the way you approach HR. Join us in Chicago June 17-20, 2018
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has ordered Hickory, N.C.-based Gaines Motor Lines, along with company officials Tim Gaines and Rick Tompkins, to reinstate three former truck drivers who were fired after reporting safety concerns, and pay the drivers over $1 million in back-pay wages, interest, compensatory and punitive damages.
According to OSHA’s Nov. 13, 2013, announcement, the former truck drivers were fired in violation of the whistle-blower protection provision of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act. Prior to their discharge, the employees had participated in a federal safety audit of the trucking company’s facility.
“Workers in this industry must be able to raise safety concerns with federal officials without fear of retaliation,” said David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “Participating in an on-site inspection helps to ensure safer conditions for truck drivers and vehicles on the road. Employers undermining these protections through intimidation and adverse conduct will not be tolerated,” he said.
Gaines Motor Lines said that it is appealing the decision, calling it “factually flawed, based on unnamed sources and hearsay, depriving [Gaines] of the right of confrontation and being completely arbitrary and capricious.”
The whistle-blower complaint alleged that four employees (one has since died) were terminated for participating in an inspection audit of the company’s facility in Hickory, which was conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. From Feb. 28 through March 1, 2012, the four employees were interviewed on-site by the agency. The complaint specifies that the employees admitted log violations to federal auditors, that they were dispatched in violation of hours-of-service restrictions, and that company officials required them to alter their drivers’ logs. On March 8, following the audit and subsequent citations issued against Gaines Motor Lines, the workers suffered adverse retaliation by company officials, including termination, layoffs and removal of employee benefits, according to OSHA.
Two of the workers were fired, another was “intimidated,” and the fourth was reclassified as a part-time driver and lost medical insurance and other benefits, OSHA said.
Gaines responded in a statement that the company was engaged in a reduction in force due to economic conditions when the inspection took place. Three of the four drivers to whom the OSHA order applied were separated as part of that workforce reduction and had safety problems or other job performance issues, Gaines said.
Under the various whistle-blower provisions enacted by Congress, employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise protected concerns or provide protected information to the employer or to government agencies.
Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
Follow him on Twitter @SHRMRoy.
SHRM Online Safety & Security page
Keep up with the latest Safety & Security HR news
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
Choose from dozens of free webcasts on the most timely HR topics.
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies