City of Richmond Plow Truck Driver Blows the Whistle

March 9, 2015- Richmond, Va.

The recent spate of wintery weather across central Virginia has resulted in school closings, traffic accidents, roadway detours and power outages. As the Virginia Department of Transportation scrambled to address the icy, snowy conditions, many Virginians still found themselves snowed in or otherwise unable to go about their normal routines.

Last week, a plow truck driver and supervisor in Richmond has come forward with a possible explanation for delays in clearing certain roadways.

A high-level employee with the city roadway maintenance department disclosed to NBC12 that employees do not have the equipment necessary to clear the streets of snow and ice in a timely manner.

According to the driver, employees are expected to clear the Southside of Richmond with only seven plows in working condition. His solution, as reported to NBC12, would be for the City of Richmond to equip every department truck with a fully functioning plow.

For employees simply trying to the right thing, reporting problems within the workplace can be an intimidating prospect. This is particularly true for Virginians, who are not afforded the protection of a general whistleblower statute. Furthermore, Virginia recognizes the employment at will doctrine, which permits an employer to dismiss an employee at any time without having to establish “just-cause” for termination.

However, whistleblowers may be entitled to extremely limited protection under Virginia law. Employees who engage in protected activities under laws in the following subject areas are protected from retaliation: asbestos, lead, and home inspection contractors; occupational safety and health; and workers’ compensation. Therefore, an employee may not be discharged for filing a safety or health complaint, testifying, or exercising a right under Virginia law concerning employee safety and health.

If you or a loved one has been terminated or retaliated against for engaging in protected activities under occupational safety and health laws, be sure to file a complaint with the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) – Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) within 60 days of the retaliatory action. If the DLI declines to pursue your claim, contact the attorneys at ReidGoodwin as soon as possible to learn about filing a lawsuit.