STAA was designed to fight against the increased number of commercial liner accidents that were taking place in the United States. Under STAA, employees may make reports about unsafe, nonstandard acts or omissions with respect to commercial motor vehicle safety, security, standards, or orders without fear of employer retaliation or termination.
More specifically, STAA protects employees who: (1) filed a complaint; (2) initiated a proceeding related to a violation of a commercial motor vehicle safety, security regulation, standard, or order; or (3) testify in such a proceeding.
STAA also provides additional protection for employees who refuse to operate a vehicle because:
- the employee believes it would violate a regulation, standard, or order of the United States related to commercial motor vehicle safety, health, or security; or
- the employee has a reasonable apprehension of serious injury to the employee or the public because of the vehicle's hazardous safety or security condition;
Protected Parties. Generally, STAA covers the following commercial transportation personnel:
- Truck drivers,
- Freight handlers,
- Repair techs and mechanics, and
- Various other personnel
Awards and Remedies. If employers are found guilty of terminating or retaliating against employees who "blow the whistle" on unsafe commercial transportation practices, employers may be required to:
- reinstate employees, which it retaliated against;
- pay compensatory damages, including backpay with interest and compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of the discrimination; or,
- pay litigation costs, including expert witness fees and reasonable attorney fees.
Employees who believe they have suffered retaliation or termination in violation of the STAA may file a complaint with the Department of Labor. Complaints must be filed within 180 of the most recent discriminatory or retaliatory act by employers.
Have questions, call 832.224.6740