HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Houston crane company was ordered by the U.S. Department of Labor to pay a former employee nearly $24,000 after firing them for refusing to violate the federal law.
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The worker was fired from Crane Masters Inc. back in June of 2020 for refusing to speed while on the job. They also reported the company was overworking them. The employee had worked 19 hours the day prior and did not get the required time off before returning to work, making it unsafe to operate a vehicle.
The investigation determined Crane Masters violated the Surface Transportation Assistance Act and was ordered to pay the driver nearly $14,000 back in wages, interest and compensatory damages, in addition to $10,000 in punitive damages.
"Crane Masters Inc. punished a driver who refused to jeopardize their safety and that of others on the road by violating federal laws that restrict how many hours a truck driver may operate a commercial vehicle each day," said OSHA Regional Administrator Eric Harbin in Dallas. "Commercial truck drivers, mechanics and other workers are critical to our nation's transportation infrastructure and our economy, but they should never be forced to put themselves or others at risk because of an employer's concern for profit, or fear retaliation for exercising their legal rights."
Crane Masters provides hydraulic truck cranes and rigging services to several industries, including construction, oil and gas, freight transportation and chemical manufacturing.