Workplace safety violations often cause serious accidents that injure or kill workers. When these accidents happen, workers should be able to contact the authorities without fear of reprisal. It is unacceptable for workers to be fired for calling 911, or for reporting a workplace accident
to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Unfortunately, employers do sometimes retaliate against workers for reporting workplace safety issues or accidents.
A beef jerky company is facing a lawsuit from the Department of Labor for retaliating against a worker who tried to call emergency services after an accident.
According to the Labor Department, the company’s owner fired a worker for calling 911. The worker called 911 after a coworker cut his thumb off while slicing meat with a band saw. However, the owner allegedly cut off the worker before emergency responders could answer the call.
According to the lawsuit, the owner claimed the worker should go to an urgent care clinic and not a hospital. After the accident, coworkers brought the injured worker to a hospital, but doctors could not reattach the thumb.
Do Workers Have Protections While Reporting Workplace Safety Violations?
The worker notified the Department of Agriculture, and claimed her employer had not provided personal protective equipment and had violated sanitation regulations. She lost her job two days later, but filed a complaint with OSHA. An OSHA investigation discovered the company had violated federal whistleblower protections. These protections protect workers from retaliation when they report unsafe work conditions or violations.
The Ohio workers comp attorneys at Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC can help protect injured workers from retaliation and explore possibilities for benefits. Workers who suffer injuries due to workplace safety violations may be able to secure benefits under a Violation of Specific Safety Requirements claim (VSSR claim).