OKLAHOMA CITY – Two truck drivers for an Oklahoma City roofing and building products company reported to a manager that the tires on a company truck were unsafe. Concerned about their own safety and that of others on the road, the two drivers refused to operate vehicles with unsafe tires. They were terminated in August 2020.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated and found that Gulfeagle Supply violated the Surface Transportation Assistance Act. OSHA ordered the company to reinstate both drivers at its Oklahoma City location, pay more than $23,000 in back wages to each employee and $70,000 in punitive damages. The company must also train managers and employees on workers’ rights under the STAA.
“Federal law helps make our roads safer by empowering truck drivers to refuse to drive trucks not properly maintained,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Eric Harbin in Dallas. “OSHA is committed to protecting workers who do what’s right when it comes to their safety and that of others.”
Gulfeagle Supply may appeal the order to the department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges.
With corporate headquarters in Tampa, Gulfeagle has 80 roofing and building products locations in Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.
OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program enforces the whistleblower provisions of 25 whistleblower statutes protecting employees from retaliation for reporting violations of various workplace safety and health, airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health insurance reform, motor vehicle safety, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, securities and tax laws, and for engaging in other related protected activities. For more information on whistleblower protections, visit OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Programs webpage.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. Learn more about OSHA.
Editor’s note: The U.S. Department of Labor does not release the names of employees involved in whistleblower complaints.