November 15, 2016 CORRECTED
OSHA finds Boulder sporting goods manufacturer retaliated against worker
who reported concerns about free-fall equipment safety
Head Rush Technologies to pay $125K in back wages, damages to former employee
DENVER - An U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation found a Denver company violated federal law when it terminated an employee for insubordination after the worker reported safety concerns about a product being manufactured by the company.
OSHA has ordered TruBlue, LLC - doing business as Head Rush Technologies - to pay the former employee more than $125,000 in back wages and damages, and take other corrective actions. The Boulder-based company retaliated against the employee in violation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act after the worker suggested to the company's chief executive officer that more safety research be conducted on the Flightline Free Fall Ride. Head Rush develops and manufactures products used for free-fall, climbing, zip-line, and other recreational activities.
"An employee should feel and be free to exercise their rights under the law - especially when it comes to safety -without fear of retaliation by their employer," said Gregory Baxter, regional OSHA administrator in Denver. "Our investigation and action on behalf of this worker underscores the agency's commitment to take vigorous action to protect workers' rights at Head Rush and elsewhere."
The company and the former employee may file objections or request a hearing, within 30 days of receipt of the agency's order, before the department's Office of Administrative Law Judges.
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the CPSIA and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various airline, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime and securities laws.
Employees who believe that they have been retaliated against for engaging in protected conduct may file a complaint with the secretary of labor. More information is available online at http://www.whistleblowers.gov/index.html.
Editor’s note: The headline and second paragraph in this news release have been changed because a prior version incorrectly described the product identified by the employee. The U.S. Department of Labor does not release names of employees involved in whistle-blower complaints.
# # #
Editor's note: The U.S. Department of Labor does not release names of employees involved in whistle-blower complaints.
Release Number: 16-2162-DEN
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The department's Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental information and documents into alternative formats, which include Braille and large print. For alternative format requests, please contact the department at (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (federal relay).