Philadelphia electric company agrees to pay $150,000 to 3 employees
to resolve US Labor Department's whistleblower investigation
PHILADELPHIA – Hyde Electric Corp. has agreed to pay a total of $150,000 in lost wages and benefits to three employees after the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration found the company in violation of the anti-retaliation provision of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. The agreement resolves an OSHA investigation resulting from an employee complaint.
The company was contracted by the School District of Philadelphia to replace the fire alarm system at Martin Luther King High School. The employees, through the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98, filed a complaint with OSHA alleging they had been laid off in retaliation for complaining about an alleged occupational hazard. An investigation by OSHA's Philadelphia Regional Office determined the layoffs were in retaliation of engaging in protected activity under the OSH Act, in violation of Section 11(c).
"Employees should be free to exercise their rights under the law without fear of termination or retaliation by their employers," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's acting regional administrator in Philadelphia. "This action underscores the Labor Department's commitment to vigorously take action to protect those rights."
Hyde Electric also has agreed to post and provide its employees with information on their whistleblower rights under the OSH Act.
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions 21 statutes protecting employees who report violations of various airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime and securities laws. The whistleblower provision laws enacted by Congress prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who raise various protected concerns or provide protected information to the employer or to the government. Employees who believe they have been retaliated against for engaging in protected conduct may file a complaint with the secretary of labor for an investigation by OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program. Detailed information on employee whistleblower rights, including fact sheets, is available online at: http://www.whistleblowers.gov.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
Editor's note: The U.S. Department of Labor does not release names of employees involved in whistleblower complaints.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.