Workers’ compensation laws in Connecticut don’t just provide benefits for employees who are injured at work, they also protect workers who try to prevent accidents before they happen. Workers who have been fired or otherwise retaliated against after reporting workplace safety violations may have a claim of retaliatory discharge under whistle-blower protection laws.
Recently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ordered a Connecticut trucking company to withdraw a lawsuit it had filed against two former employees who had complained to the police and the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles about the potentially unsafe condition of one of the company’s trucks.
An OSHA investigation found that the workers lost their jobs for reasons unrelated to their safety complaints, but the company later filed a lawsuit against them. In the lawsuit, the company alleged that the former employees had registered their complaints in an effort to hurt the company. OSHA found that by filing this lawsuit, the company had violated whistle-blower protection laws and ordered the company to pay the two workers a total of $60,000.
Connecticut workers who have been injured in an accident at work or who have concerns about the potential for workplace accidents can get help from attorneys with experience in workers’ compensation and worker protection laws. Employers have a legal obligation to provide their employees with a reasonably safe work environment. When workers discover an unsafe working condition, they can report it to the employer. If the employer refuses to do anything about it, the employer can report it to Connecticut OSHA or the federal OSHA, either of which can impose fines on the employer for safety violations. Employers can’t legally retaliate against employees for reporting safety violations.
Source: EHS Today, “OSHA Orders Trucking Company to Withdraw ‘Retaliatory Lawsuit’ Against Whistleblowers,” Josh Cable, Oct. 24, 2013