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OSHA News Release – Region 2
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 2 News Release: 06-980-NEW/BOS 2006-160
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Two employees of Cannon Industries Inc. in Rochester, fired nearly three years ago for reporting health and safety concerns, will be paid $35,000 in back wages as the result of a consent judgment secured by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The employees were fired in August 2003, after they informed the company and the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of their concerns about the safety of certain machines and chemicals used in the workplace. The workers filed a complaint with OSHA alleging their terminations violated whistleblower provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
OSHA's investigation upheld the complaint and the agency attempted to secure from the company reinstatement of the workers and back wages. When the company refused, Labor Department attorneys filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York. That complaint resulted in a consent judgment signed on May 31, 2006, by U.S. District Judge David G. Larimer.
"This judgment upholds employees' rights to raise safety and health issues with their employer and OSHA without fear of retaliation or termination," said Patricia K. Clark, OSHA regional administrator in New York. "When protected activity results in discharge or discrimination, OSHA will seek legal remedies for workers."
Additionally, the judgment prohibits officials of Cannon Industries from discriminating against workers who report safety and health complaints, requires company officials to post a workplace notice informing employees of the consent judgment and orders company officials to remove any references to discharge or suspension from the personnel files of the two workers who were fired.
Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act protects workers' right to file a complaint with OSHA or bring safety and health issues to the attention of their employer. Information about the whistleblower provisions of this and other laws is available at www.osha.gov/dep/oia/whistleblower/index.html.
Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department (DOL) releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.
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