No matter your industry or type of business, it’s possible that employees may face some form of harassment or coercion. When it comes to commercial truck driving, however, those driving for a large fleet may come face to face with driver harassment or driver coercion. While similar, driver harassment and coercion are actually two different problems. Both are serious offenses committed by an employer, and employees on the receiving end should take action, but it’s important to understand the differences between driver harassment and driver coercion so you can be sure you’re reporting the correct offense.
Driver Harassment vs. Driver Coercion
Driver harassment is defined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) as any action by a motor carrier towards a driver that the carrier knew would result in an hours of service (HOS) violation. Harassment only occurs if the employer’s or carrier’s actions involve information from an electronic logging device (ELD) or other technology used in combination with an ELD.
Examples of driver harassment include: interruption of the driver’s off-duty time, asking the driver to manipulate logs, asking the driver to delay his or her break, actually editing HOS logs, giving a driver an unrealistic arrival time, and requiring wait times over 2 hours without pay.
On the other hand, driver coercion is much broader and is defined by the FMCSA as a motor carrier (as well as shippers, receivers, brokers, and other transportation intermediaries) threatening to punish or take negative employment action (i.e. withholding business, employment, or work opportunities) in order to get drivers to violate Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs), and Federal Motor Carrier Commercial Regulations (FMCCRs). Certain details must occur for coercion to exist, but punishing drivers by carrying out such threats is also considered coercion. Drivers are protected from coercion thanks to FMCSA’s Coercion Rule, but like driver harassment, the “ELD Rule specifically prohibits a motor carrier from coercing a driver to falsely certify his/her data entries or record of duty status.”
An example of driver coercion: The motor carrier terminates a driver for refusing to accept a load that would require the driver to violate the hours of service requirements.
Prevent Driver Harassment With ELDs
One of the most powerful aspects of the ELD mandate is its power to fight driver harassment. Along with requiring drivers to use an e-log to keep track of HOS, the ELD mandate prohibits carriers from engaging in driver harassment or tampering with ELD data. It also provides a formal complaint process for drivers to report harassment without repercussions. If a carrier is found guilty of driver harassment, he or she will be charged with civil penalty and an HOS penalty.
If you have been the victim of driver harassment, the FMCSA requires a complaint to be filed within 90 days on the National Consumer Complaint Database or with the FMCSA Division Administrator for the state where the drive is employed.
My20 ELD From Konexial
With the My20 ELD from Konexial, you’ll not only be driving in full ELD compliance…you’ll also be fighting against driver harassment and coercion. From basic e-log functions to powerful tools like our dynamic load matching GoLoad, both My20 ELD and My20 Tower work hard to streamline every aspect of your drive. Contact us to learn more about how Konexial’s driver-oriented products will work for you.