Truck weight-minded whistleblower banks $220K in OSHA order

Sources: Occupational Safety and Health Administration; CP staff

Abiding its Whistleblower Protection Program, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has ordered JHOS Logistics and Transportation Inc. to reinstate an employee terminated for refusing to drive what the employee reasonably believed to be an overweight vehicle at the company’s Wilmington, Calif. facility. The agency also ordered the motor carrier to pay $190,000 in back wages, $25,000 in punitive damages, $5,000 in compensatory damages, plus attorney’s fees. 

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OSHA outlines pandemic response enforcement plan measures

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration

An interim enforcement response plan for the coronavirus pandemic provides guidance to Occupational Safety and Health Administration Area Offices plus compliance safety and health officers (CSHO) for handling coronavirus-related complaints, referrals or severe illness reports. Effectively immediately, it contains what OSHA Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt calls “commonsense procedures for investigating complaints related to the coronavirus while also ensuring the safety of workers, employers, and inspectors.” 

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Whistleblowing-driver prevails in claims against fleet owner

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration

OSHA is testing Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) whistleblower protection provisions by ordering a defunct Connecticut motor carrier and its co-owner to pay more than $150,000 in backpay, fines and attorney’s fees to settle a complaint surrounding management practices and trucking regulations compliance. Investigators found that the carrier retaliated against a driver who voiced concerns about faulty vehicle maintenance, including missing or inoperative headlights and air pressure leaks, and a directive to violate Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hours of service regulations. 

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Contractor settles with feds in case of defective rebar, lax QC

Source: U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ); CP staff

DOJ recently announced an agreement whereby Energy & Process Corp. (E&P) will pay $4.6 million to resolve a lawsuit alleging the Tucker, Ga., contractor knowingly failed to perform required quality assurance procedures and supplied defective steel reinforcing bars in connection with a Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear waste treatment facility contract.

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Feds enter suit charging defective rebar, quality control lapses in nuclear waste facility

Sources: U.S. Department of Justice; CP staff

The Justice Department has intervened in a False Claims Act lawsuit, alleging Energy & Process Corp. (E&P) of Tucker, Ga., knowingly failed to perform required quality assurance procedures and supplied defective steel reinforcing bars in connection with a Department of Energy nuclear waste treatment facility contract.

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Feds prevail in ERISA-rooted charges against Cement Masons local officials

Sources: U.S. Department of Labor; CP staff

The Labor Department characterizes a U.S. District Court for the Central District of California decision against a Cement Masons Southern California Trust Funds trustee and attorney as a “victory for whistleblowers.” The court found that trustee and Cement Masons Local 600 business manager Scott Brain and trust counsel Melissa Cook violated two Employee Retirement Income Security Act sections when they caused the firing of Cheryle Robbins and Cory Rice.

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OSHA and NLRB Update Referral Agreement

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and National Labor Relations Board have implemented a joint referral agreement to redirect to the NLRB OSHA complainants whose claims of discrimination under the OSH Act are time barred, but may form the basis of timely unfair labor practice charges under the National Labor Relations Act. NLRB Associate General Counsel Anne Purcell disclosed the accord in a May memorandum.

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