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Judge says sewer worker’s firing doesn’t pass smell test

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in Employment Law,Firing,Human Resources

An administrative law judge has ruled the township of Leoni violated the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act (MIOSHA) when it terminated Benjamin Brzezinski for refusing to enter a sewer he felt was unsafe.

MIOSHA permits workers to refuse to enter situations they legitimately believe to be unsafe. It’s illegal for employers to punish employees for exercising their MIOSHA rights.

The judge listened to both parties’ accounts of the event and found Brzezinski more credible than the township representatives.

A circuit court reversed that ruling, but a state appeals court reinstated it, saying the circuit court could reverse the administrative law judge’s decision only if it found “competent material and substantial evidence on the whole record” failed to support the decision. The court has yet to determine damages.

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