The STAA protects Truck Drivers retaliated against who refuse to drive in unsafe conditions.
Truck drivers are often the target of retaliation because they report safety violations or refuse to drive because of unsafe or dangerous conditions including driving while tired or not within legal time limits. If this happens the truck driver may have the right to file a claim under STAA.
What is the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) and how does it protect truck driversSTAA is a federal statute designed to protect truck driver "whistle-blowers" by making it illegal to discharge, discipline, or discriminate against a truck driver in response to the truck drivers complaining about or refusing to drive a truck that does not meet the applicable safety standards. Further a truck driver cannot be fired or disciplined for refusing to drive when the driver cannot drive because of medical reasons or because the driver cannot operate the vehicle safely. It is also illegal under the act for an employer to try and force a truck driver to drive out of compliance with the hours of driving provisions of federal law.
What is the procedure to fie a STAA claim?If you believe that you have been retaliated against for reporting a safety violation or refusing to take a load because of an unsafe reason then you must, within 180 days, file a claim with OSHA. After the claim is filed with OSHA a decision will made, either side may appeal this decision to an Administrative Law Judge. Ultimately either party can appeal to a US Circuit Court of Appeals.
What damages can you receive under STAA if you win your case?1. reinstatement, 2.back pay, 3. front pay, 4.compensatory damages for such items as emotional distress and loss of reputation, 5. interest on damages; and, 5 attorney fees and costs including expert fees and other cost to bring the claim. There is a $250,000 cap on the damages.
Do I need a lawyer to file a STAA claim?No, the law does not require you to have a lawyer, but as with most employment related claims having an experience lawyer on your side can increase the odds of you winning. Also because attorneys' fees are recoverable under the law there are experience employment lawyers who take the cases on a contingency basis.