Suit over Workers Reporting Safety Issues

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 @ 06:03 PM gHale


Employees need to be able to point out safety hazards without fear of recrimination.

Lear Corp. and three of its managers are facing a lawsuit for suspending and terminating employees who reported workplace hazards in violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH).

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The suit follows an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after three Renosol Seating LLC, which is a part of Lear Corp., employees filed federal complaints. Based in Selma, AL, the company is a high- and low-volume foam manufacturer.

The suit said Lear discriminated against the employees by conducting retaliatory acts in violation of the OSH Act’s Section 11(c).

The suit seeks back wages, interest, and compensatory and punitive damages. Additionally, the suit seeks an order directing Lear to remove all references to this matter from the employee’s personnel records and barring Lear from future violations of the OSH Act.

The department’s action makes numerous allegations, including the company harassed employees, reduced their overtime, segregated them from co-workers, suspended and later terminated one of the employees in retaliation for raising health concerns associated with exposure to toluene diisocyanate.

“Employees have the right to raise occupational safety and health concerns without the fear of retaliation,” said Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA’s regional administrator in Atlanta. “OSHA will continue to seek litigation for companies that violate the whistleblower provisions of the OSH Act to protect employees who report violations.”

Employers cannot retaliate against employees who raise various protected concerns or provide protected information to the employer or to the government, according to the OSH Act. Employees who believe that they have been retaliated against for engaging in protected conduct may file a complaint with the secretary of labor to request an investigation by OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program.