OSHA Orders Company to Reinstate, Pay Back Wages to Terminated Mechanic

OSHA Orders Company to Reinstate, Pay Back Wages to Terminated Mechanic

The worker was terminated after reporting and having conversations about safety concerns and filing a complaint.

A mechanic who was fired after talking about safety concerns and filing a complaint will soon receive back wages and be reinstated.

The mechanic, employed by helicopter ambulance servicer Avera Careflight, first raised concerns about a helicopter’s safety in July last year, according to a news release. From here, as the mechanic—whose name was not announced as names related to whistleblower complaints are not shared—had additional safety-based conversations with “their supervisor and the manufacturer's national technical representative,” they faced rebuke from the supervisor.

On September 29, 2022, 27 days after the mechanic filed a Federal Aviation Administration complaint as they “believ[ed] the issue was unresolved, they were terminated.

"Employees must be able to freely exercise their legal rights regarding workplace safety without fear of retaliation by their employer," explained OSHA Regional Administrator Jennifer S. Rous in Denver in the news release.

After being found in violation of the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century by OSHA, Avera Careflight was ordered to, per OSHA, reinstate the mechanic and rid their record of “negative reports.” In addition, OSHA said the company must also pay back wages and damages of over $30,600 and of $25,000, respectively.

"The outcome of this investigation and the action on the mechanic's behalf underscores the department's commitment to protecting workers' rights,” Rous continued.

About the Author

Alex Saurman is a former Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety,who has since joined OH&S’s client services team. She continues to work closely with OH&S’s editorial team and contributes to the magazine.

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