OSHA Sues Kwick Stop for Firing Whistleblower

OSHA has filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma alleging that Shawnee, Okla.-based Modern Oil Co. Inc., doing business as Kwick Stop Convenience Stores, illegally terminated an employee because of complaints about workplace safety issues.

"Employees should be free to exercise their rights under the law without fear of termination or retaliation by their employers," said William A. Burke, OSHA's acting regional administrator in Dallas. "This lawsuit underscores the Labor Department's commitment to vigorously take action to protect those rights."

The worker filed a whistleblower complaint with OSHA alleging retaliation in violation of Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which prohibits discharge or other retaliation against workers for filing a safety or health complaint, or for exercising a wide range of other rights afforded to them by the act. OSHA whistleblower investigators found that an employee was fired after complaining about the safety hazards at the Kwick Stop convenience store in Shawnee. In addition to back pay and reinstatement, the Labor Department is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for the employee.

Modern Oil is comprised of approximately 30 gas station/convenience stores in the Shawnee area. The company employs approximately 300 employees.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the OSH Act and 18 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various trucking, airline, nuclear power, pipeline, environmental, rail and securities laws.

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