Fired safety whistleblower awarded $40K in damages
A jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has awarded $40,000 for lost wages, pain and suffering, and punitive damages to a former employee of Fairmount Foundry Inc. The employee claimed that the Hamburg, Pennsylvania, iron-casting company terminated him for reporting alleged safety and health hazards to OSHA.
The verdict follows a lawsuit filed by the Department in September 2017 in which an OSHA whistleblower investigation determined that Fairmount Foundry fired the complainant in retaliation for engaging in a protected activity under Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
“The jury recognized that every employee has a legally protected right to report safety hazards to OSHA without fear of termination,” said Regional Philadelphia Solicitor Oscar L. Hampton III. “By compensating the complainant, and assessing an additional penalty against the company, the jury sent the message that such behavior will not be tolerated.”
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of 22 statutes protecting employees who report violations of various airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, motor vehicle safety, healthcare reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, and securities laws. For more information on whistleblower protections, visit OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Programs webpage.