With so many rules and regulations in the trucking industry, you may feel like the man is just trying to get you down. And with so many reports on the exploitation of truckers, it’s easy to feel that you’ve been hung up to dry. But that is not the case. There are several laws and programs created to protect truckers’ rights. We highly recommend getting to know them and learning how to fight back if a situation ever arises.
If your employer requests you to perform a task that violates one of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) provisions and you’ve informed them of the fact, and they attempt to coerce you to do the task anyway, you have grounds to file a complaint.
FMCSA, defines coercion as: “a motor carrier, shipper, receiver, or transportation intermediary threatens to withhold work from, take employment action against, or punish a driver for refusing to operate in violation of certain provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs) and the Federal Motor Carrier Commercial Regulations (FMCCRs)”.
DOT Can Be Your Friend
Let’s say you have a suspicion that the maintenance of your truck is not up to par. And you’ve told your employer about your concern, but it has gone unnoticed. Don’t wait around to get stuck with the consequences. You should stop at the nearest weigh station and ask DOT for a Level 1 inspection. But glance over this checklist first, to make sure your end of the inspection is up to regulation.
Afraid of your employer retaliating if you file a complaint on coercion or on the matter of health and safety? Don’t worry. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has your back. They created the Whistleblower Protection Program to protect workers exercising their rights. OSHA recognizes the types of retaliation as:
- Firing or laying off
- Denying overtime or promotion
- Denial of benefits
- Failure to hire or rehire
- Making threats
- Reassignment affecting prospects for promotion
- Reducing pay or hours
Out of the 22 federal laws or statutes that protect employees under the Whistleblower Protection Program, one was specifically made with truckers in mind. The Surface Transportation Assistance Act protects truck drivers that report or refuse to violate commercial motor vehicle safety regulations. You can easily file a complaint online here.