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Region 4 News Release: 12-174-ATL (035)
Feb. 6, 2012
Contact: Michael D'Aquino    Michael Wald
Phone: 404-562-2076    404-562-2078
Email: d'aquino.michael@dol.gov     wald.michael@dol.gov

US Department of Labor orders North Carolina printing company
to reinstate whistleblower, pay more than $83,000 in back wages
Truck driver protected by Surface Transportation Assistance Act provision

SALISBURY, N.C. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has ordered the reinstatement of a former truck driver employed by the Salisbury-based commercial printing company, Rowan Business Forms, who was fired after reporting safety concerns about the brakes in his truck.

An investigation by OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program found reasonable cause to believe that the termination violated the whistleblower provision of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act. Consequently, the agency has ordered the company and its related entities/owners/officers including Rowan Business Forms, Richard Hardesty II, Rowan Paper Co. and Janis M. Hardesty Holdings LLC to pay the former worker more than $83,000 in back wages, interest, and compensatory and punitive damages.

"We take complaints regarding retaliation for reporting truck safety very seriously," said Cindy A. Coe, OSHA's regional administrator in Atlanta. "Reporting concerns are a basic worker's right, and OSHA will continue to ensure that it is protected. Employers found in violation of whistleblower protection provisions will be held accountable."

On Aug. 18, 2009, the employee informed his supervisor that the company's dump truck was leaking brake fluid. He indicated that the brake pedal went all the way down to the truck floor, and he had almost hit a car in front of him because of that problem. The employee was fearful for his safety