The suit alleges that in 13 separate incidents, employees of The Ohio Bell Telephone Company, which operates as AT&T, were disciplined and given one- to three-day unpaid suspensions for reporting injuries that occurred on the job. The company claimed that each employee violated a corporate workplace safety standard; however, OSHA determined that the suspensions were a result of workers reporting their injuries. The injuries occurred between 2011 and 2013.
"It is against the law for employers to discipline or suspend employees for reporting injuries," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "AT&T must understand that by discouraging workers from reporting injuries, it increases the likelihood of more workers being injured in the future.”
Five of the employees in the suit are based in Columbus; two in Brooklyn Heights; two in Canton; and one each in Akron, Cleveland, Gallipolis and Uhrichsville.
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, alleges the company violated the whistleblower provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.
Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise concerns or provide information to their employer or the government under any of these laws.