Settlement Reached Between U.S. Department of Labor and Local Employer in Suit Enforcing Final Orders under Surface Transportation Assistance Act
LAFAYETTE, LA (STL.News) Acting United States Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook announced that D.G. Construction and Hauling, LLC and the U.S. Department of Labor, with DOJ local counsel, have reached a settlement of a civil action filed on August 5, 2020 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana seeking to enforce administrative orders against D.G. Construction and Hauling, LLC, and its owner, Brett Deshotels (“Defendants”), in Lafayette, Louisiana, for violations of employee protection provisions of the Surface Transportation and Assistance Act.
The Secretary’s orders found Defendants liable for firing its employee truck driver in retaliation for reporting equipment defects and refusing to drive due to safety concerns, and had awarded reinstatement, back pay and interest, $5,000 in compensatory damages, and $10,000 in punitive damages to the truck driver, as well as an order for $26,568.27 in attorney’s fees to his trial counsel. As Defendants had failed to fully comply with the final orders to compensate the truck driver, as ordered, the enforcement action was filed against Defendants.
This settlement is the result of a coordinated effort by U.S. Department of Labor Trial Attorneys Felix Marquez and Mary Cobb and Assistant U.S. Attorney Shannon Brown.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Whistleblower Protection Program enforces the whistleblower provisions of 25 whistleblower statutes protecting employees from retaliation for reporting violations of various workplace safety and health, airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health insurance reform, motor vehicle safety, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, securities and tax laws, and for engaging in other related protected activities.