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Not every ‘safety’ fear amounts to whistleblowing

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in HR Management,Human Resources

In Pennsylvania, workers are protected for whistleblowing. However, the law has specific requirements.

For example, the worker’s complaint must be “objectively reasonable” and not merely a complaint about some perceived safety issue.

Recent case: Bruce took a job with a water department as a probationary employee.

Within days, he was sending around emails accusing a vendor of using an inadequate pump in a project he was only tangentially involved with. In his emails, Bruce claimed using the pump could result in many deaths. He said the decision to use the pump was “incomprehensible.”

A few weeks later, he was fired for poor performance.

Bruce sued, alleging he had en-gaged in protected whistleblowing. The court disagreed, concluding that his complaint didn’t specify any particular rule violation, just his opinion about a piece of equipment. (Liban v. McCarty, ED PA, 2017)

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