Today's News

OSHA orders company to withdraw lawsuit and pay 9 whistleblowers more than $7.9 million (4/8)

April 8, 2009
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+

OSHA has ordered Southern Air Inc., a Norwalk, Conn.-based air cargo carrier, to withdraw a lawsuit it filed against nine former employees and pay them more than $7.9 million in wages, damages and legal fees, according to an agency press release.

Southern Air filed a defamation lawsuit against the former employees in Connecticut Superior Court in May 2008 after some of the workers raised air carrier safety concerns with Southern Air, OSHA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The workers, all former flight crew members, subsequently filed a whistleblower complaint with OSHA.

OSHA’s investigation found that the company’s lawsuit was filed in retaliation for the workers’ protected activities under the whistleblower provisions of the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR21).

“This order sends a strong and clear message that these and other workers have the right to raise safety issues with their employers and regulatory agencies without fear of retaliation and intimidation,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “The Labor Department will vigorously investigate such allegations and, where merited, order appropriate remedies for workers.”

As a result of its investigation, OSHA issued a notice of findings and order to Southern Air directing the airline to do the following:
  • Withdraw its lawsuit.
  • Pay the complainants $6,004,000 in lost future earnings, $1,800,000 in compensatory damages and $129,789 in legal fees and costs.
  • Purge each complainant’s personnel file and other records of all warnings, reprimands or derogatory references resulting from protected whistleblower activity.
  • Refrain from mentioning the complainants’ protected whistleblower activity or conveying any damaging information in response to third party inquiries.
  • Provide all Southern Air crew members with copies of the FAA Whistleblower Protection Program poster and OSHA’s notice to employees, and post these in each Southern Air facility.
The complainants and the airline have 30 days from receipt of the findings to file an appeal with the Labor Department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges.

In addition to AIR21, OSHA administers the whistleblower provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act and other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various securities, trucking, airline, nuclear power, pipeline, environmental, rail, public transportation and consumer product safety laws. Detailed information on employee whistleblower rights is available online at http://www.osha.gov/dep/oia/whistleblower/index.html.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Scenes from the World of Safety

Sights, signs & symbols from the National Safety Congress & Expo held in San Diego, CA, September 15-18

12/11/14 11:00 am EST

Why Flame Resistant Workwear? Understanding Workplace Hazards and OSHA Compliance

By defining the leading causes of flash fires, electric arc and molten metal splatter, we will address the ways in which companies can better protect their employees from such hazards through proper staff outfitting. In the topic, we will discuss the benefits of – and recent developments to – flame-resistant workwear and what to consider when creating a program for your employees.

ISHN Magazine

ISHN1214_cover.jpg

2014 December

Check out ISHN's last issue of the year, which features articles about distance learning, foot protection and confined space.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE ISHN STORE

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - SEPTEMBER 2014

ISHN FDO SEPTEMBER 2014For Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. CHECK OUT THE SEPTEMBER 2014 ISSUE OF FDO HERE

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.