- A transport company disciplined two workers who said they were too sick or tired to drive, the DOL said.
- The company gave the employees disciplinary points, leading to one being terminated, per the DOL.
- The DOL ordered the firm to reinstate the fired employee and pay the pair $145,000 in back wages and damages.
The labor department said that a transport company penalized two workers after they felt they were too sick or tired to drive safely, and ordered the firm to pay more than $145,000 in back wages and damages.
Transport company Transdev Services handed internal disciplinary points to two drivers after they said they felt they couldn’t safely drive commercial vehicles, the Department of Labor said.
“The points led to the termination of one worker,” the DOL said.
Following an investigation by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the DOL said that the company’s actions violated the Surface Transportation Assistance Act’s whistleblower provisions.
Transdev Services was ordered to pay the dismissed driver $95,000 in back wages and damages, and pay $50,000 in damages to the second driver.
The labor department also instructed Transdev to reinstate the dismissed employee and remove disciplinary points linked to the refusal to drive from both drivers’ records.
Transdev Services North America – owned by Transdev, a French transport company – says it’s “the largest private provider of multiple modes of transport in North America,” including bus, paratransit and streetcar services.
A Transdev Services spokesperson told Insider: “We challenge the substance of this OSHA decision and that we are in the process of filing an appeal. We will share details of that appeal at a later date.”
Transdev Services’ US headquarters are in Illinois, although the DOL press release specified that the company involved was based in San Jose, California. According to a DOL spokesperson “the employer has an operating location at the San Jose Airport.”
Transdev confirmed to Insider that it was the subject of the DOL decision, but did not give details of the San Jose operation.
The labor department’s press released also referred to Transdev as a trucking company, although a DOL spokesperson didn’t confirm whether the disciplined drivers were truck drivers, adding that the department wanted to protect their identity.
According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, drivers cannot operate commercial motor vehicles, or be asked or allowed by carriers to operate them, “while the driver’s ability or alertness is so impaired, or so likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness, or any other cause, as to make it unsafe for him/her to begin or continue to operate the commercial motor vehicle.”
The Surface Transportation Assistance Act rules that an employer can’t discharge, discipline, or discriminate against an employee because they refuse to drive a vehicle because it would violate health and safety regulations related to driving commercial vehicles. It also gives workers whistleblower protection if they choose to report the issues.
“Employees who report workplace safety concerns are protected by federal law against retaliation of any kind,” James D. Wulff, a regional administrator for the DOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration in San Francisco, said in a statement.
“In this case, two drivers alerted Transdev Services of their concerns for their safety and that of others and were punished for doing so,” he said. “This is illegal and employers need to know that they will be held accountable for violating worker’s rights.”