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Employer required defensive driving?

If an employer runs an MVR on a current employee and determines that the employee is an unsafe driver, can the employer require the employee to take a defensive driving course at the employee’s own expense?

Employers often require their employees to drive for business purposes. Whether an employee is expected to drive only periodically or every day as part of their normal job responsibilities, employers are assuming the risk that their employees may be involved in automobile accidents. Such accidents can cause a significant financial burden to employers due to medical care, legal expenses, property damage, and lost productivity. In an effort to reduce liability, employers can obtain their employees’ motor vehicle records (MVR).

Employers with permissible uses are able to obtain their employees’ MVRs; however, employers are subject to federal and possible state regulations in doing so. The most notable federal law is the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) which governs the release of consumer reports including driving records. Basically, the consumer, i.e. employee, must provide written authorization in order for the MVR to be obtained. Additionally, the employee must be notified if adverse action such as a demotion is taken against him due to information on the MVR.

It’s advisable to adopt a written policy for all employees and/or a written agreement for employees expected to drive on company business. The document should inform employees of the company’s traffic safety policies, procedures and expectations regarding driver performance, vehicle maintenance, and reporting procedures. Additionally, the disciplinary procedures for violations including training classes should be clearly listed.

Employers are within their rights to require employees to attend training classes such as defensive driving for poor driving performance or violation of the company’s driving policy. Though it’s customary for employers to pay for mandatory employee training, there is no federal legislation requiring it. Some states may impose restrictions on what employers can force employees to pay for; so, it’s important to know applicable state laws. Also, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires non-exempt employees to be compensated for all hours worked. Time spent attending mandatory trainings is compensable under federal law. Thus, employers may not have to pay for the training itself but they most likely will have to pay for the time spent taking the training.


This entry was posted on Monday, June 16th, 2014 at 7:38 pm and is filed under
Employment Training.
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