Workers fired after filing safety complaints with OSHA
OSHA can sell company owner’s car if he doesn’t pay judgement
OSHA has entered into an agreement with McKees Rocks Industrial Enterprises Inc. and James T. Lind, company president, resolving a lawsuit alleging a worker was wrongfully terminated for filing an OSHA complaint. OSHA inspected the Pennsylvania industrial park and terminal facility after the worker raised safety concerns. Following OSHA's inspection, the worker was initially reassigned duties but later fired.
$100,000 in damages
OSHA found the company violated Section 11(c) of the OSH Act when it fired the worker in retaliation for his safety complaint. The judgment provides the worker $100,000 in damages and the removal of all disciplinary action.
OSHA has also reached a settlement with Donald Pottern, doing business as Crown Furniture, after the agency found merit to a worker's complaint that he had been fired by his employer two days after he filed a complaint with OSHA alleging safety and health hazards at the store.
OSHA can seize owner's car
Pottern will pay a former employee $12,500 and take other corrective action to resolve an anti-discrimination lawsuit filed against the West Springfield, Mass., furniture retailer by the U.S. Department of Labor after an OSHA investigation. To ensure payment, Pottern has provided the department with a security interest in a car that he owns, so that the department may lawfully secure possession and sell it to satisfy unpaid portions of the judgment, if necessary. Pottern must also expunge the former employee's personnel record and provide a written, neutral job reference for him, if requested.
"Every worker has the right to call attention to workplace safety and health issues without the fear of retaliation," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "These settlements are a testament to OSHA's unwavering commitment to intervene legally when workers are the victims of a wrongful termination."
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of 22 statutes protecting employees who report violations of laws in various industries. For more information, visit www.whistleblowers.gov.