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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 116715
Experience:  All corporate law, including non-profits and charitable fraternal organizations.
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I'm a Commercial Motor Vehicle owner operator operating

Customer Question

I'm a Commercial Motor Vehicle owner operator operating under my own D.O.T. Authority and own the LLC company my truck is registered under. My truck is a lease purchase, contracted to haul the freight of another Carrier utilizing their trailers, the same Carrier my truck is lease purchased through.
Here's my dilemma. The contracted Carrier is not supposed to treat their owner operators as company employees/drivers by forcing dispatch, dictating where and when truck maintenance occurs, etc. I already know there is legal precedence with this regarding IRS employee tax laws and the contracted carrier is also fully aware.
However, the contracted carrier is now resorting to the use of coercion, threats, and blackmail toward myself, and quite possibly other owner operators contracted onto them, to force me into doing exactly what they want (I.e. forced dispatch under threat of taking away revenue from a current load assigned if I refuse a preplanned load, forcing me to go around weigh stations when their load is over weight, rather than them contacting the shipper and rectifying the problem, not allowing me to get truck repairs done when needed, causing me to have to operate unsafely on loads I'm forced to pick up and deliver, etc.).
My questions are, if I report the contracted carrier to government agencies such as the IRS, D.O.T. Etc, am I protected under the whistle Blower act?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
You are not protected under the whistleblower act I am afraid, as that act does not protect an LLC or LLC owner from retaliation, it protects employees from retaliation. As you are an independent contractor, not an employee, you would not have protection under that law.
If they breach their contract with you based on you filing a complaint, your claim would be solely under the contract you have with them I am afraid. OK courts do recognize breaching contracts in bad faith and retaliation for you filing a complaint would be in bad faith, so that would be the basis you can pursue them under unless the contract has a termination provision for no cause.
However, you can also seek to file anonymous complaints to try to keep your name out of the complaints as well.