McKees Rocks Industrial Enterprises has agreed to settle a retaliation case brought by a former employee who had complained of safety violations at the freight-handling company’s terminal near Pittsburgh. OSHA contends that the general laborer’s complaints led directly to an inspection by federal safety authorities—and that the man was immediately transferred and eventually fired as a result.
OSHA sued McKees Rocks, seeking reinstatement and back pay. The company ultimately agreed to pay $100,000, remove derogatory information from the worker’s record and provide a neutral reference to any employer inquiring about the man.
The company must also prominently display information on OSHA’s whistle-blower protections in the workplace.
Note: Punishing employees for reporting safety concerns to OSHA or state agencies is poor policy. Employers are better off creating an atmosphere where employees are not afraid to bring safety issues to the attention of their superiors.