Pennsylvania Manufacturer Must Pay Terminated Employee $13K, Court Says

The employee was fired after an employee filed a complaint with OSHA, which later performed an inspection and issued citations.

A paper box manufacturer in Pennsylvania is being required to pay $13,000 to an employee who was fired, a federal court said.

According to a news release, a few years ago, OSHA cited Midvale Paper Box Company after performing an inspection. Prior to this inspection, one of the manufacturer’s employees filed a complaint “alleging that the company did not provide employees with personal protective equipment and lacked required lockout/tagout procedures” in October 2017, per OSHA.

Following this series of events, an employee—whose name was not shared as the Department of Labor (DOL) does not release this information—was fired. This employee went on to file “a whistleblower claim alleging that they were wrongly terminated because the company and its owner believed mistakenly that the employee they terminated had filed the OSHA complaint,” the agency said. A complaint alleging a violation of employee rights was then filed by the DOL.

Through a summary judgment, the federal district court required that Midvale Paper Box Company and owner David Frank pay the former employee $13,000. They must also provide education on “workplace safety requirements and whistleblower protection rights” to certain workers, hang posters on these topics, never disobey whistleblower provisions and issue a neutral job reference to the terminated worker, OSHA said.

"Protecting the right of an employee to file a federal workplace safety complaint or participate in an OSHA inspection are critical components in OSHA's mission," said OSHA Regional Administrator Michael Rivera in Philadelphia in the news release. "Midvale Paper Box Company and owner David Frank are being held accountable for violating this employee's rights."

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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