Doyle Dennis represents whistleblowers and employees of vehicle manufacturers, part suppliers, or dealerships who have reported important safety violations or illegal conduct.
Who is protected by MAP-21?
The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), 49 U.S.C. § 30171, protects employees who work for motor vehicle manufacturers, part suppliers, or dealerships. Under federal law, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has the responsibility to set vehicle safety standards and to mandate recalls for vehicles based on a safety-related defect.
MAP-21 defines as a person or entity that a (1) manufactures or assembles motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment; or (2) imports motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment for resale. Similarly, a dealership is person or entity selling and distributing new motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment. And a Part Supplier is “a manufacturer of motor vehicle equipment.”
What is protected?
In enacting MAP-21, the legislature prohibited employers from retaliating, discriminating, or terminating an employee for any of the following:
How can I prove retaliation?
To prove a claim under MAP-21, an employee must show that they engaged in a protected act, suffered an adverse action, that the employer knew about the protected act, and that the act was a contributing factor in the adverse action. In passing MAP-21, Congress only required that an employee show that the protected act was a “contributing factor” in the employee’s adverse action. As a result, an employee only needs to show that the protected act was a factor which, alone or with other factors, in any way affects the outcome of a decision.
How do I file a claim or lawsuit?
If a motor vehicle manufacturer, part supplier, or dealership has retaliated or terminated a worker, the worker must file a MAP-21 complaint with OSHA within 180 days after the retaliation or after the date when the employee learned of the retaliation. As part of that claim, the employee must show he or she is protected under MAP-21 as a whistleblower, the employer had knowledge of that report and retaliated or discharged the employee, and that the protected act was a contributing factor in the retaliation. After a decision, the worker or employer may request a hearing with an administrative law judge and ultimately to the Department of Labor. If after 210 days, the Department does not issue a final decision, the employee then may file a lawsuit in federal court. See 49 U.S.C. 30171.
What damages are available?
A motor vehicle manufacturer, part supplier, or dealership who has retaliated against an employee may be liable to the employee for lost wages, mental anguish, compensatory damage, punitive damage, and attorney’s fees.
MAP-21 provides significant and important protection and remedies for employees of motor vehicle manufacturers, part suppliers, or dealerships. Doyle Dennis LLP has substantial experience and results representing whistleblowers and targeted employees/workers. This includes a $1.7 million verdict in Ball v. Alleyton Resource Company, a $1.9 million verdict in Reginald Newberne v. Dept. of Public Safety, and a $6.5 million verdict in Gomez v. Memorial Hermann Hospital System. If you would like to learn more about our firm or schedule a free consultation, contact us today.