Wounded Employee Awarded $650k Following Retaliation

A federal jury in the District of Massachusetts recently located that a Massachusetts-centered contractor unlawfully retaliated in opposition to an immigrant personnel next a function harm, resulting in the employee’s detention by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”). The jury awarded the personnel $50,000 in compensatory damages and $600,000 in punitive damages, highlighting the severe repercussions for workplace retaliation. 

Allegations of Retaliation From Worker

In accordance to a complaint filed with the U.S. District Court docket for the District of Massachusetts on February 27, 2019, an immigrant staff experienced a function personal injury when he fell from a ladder in March of 2017.  After the personal injury was documented to his employer, the worker claimed the incident to the Section of Labor’s Occupational Basic safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”). 

Next the report of safety considerations, the employer initiated an immigration investigation that led to the employee’s detainment by ICE. Dependent on textual content concept and cell phone information, the employer organized for ICE officers to satisfy the personnel at the employer’s position of business, and the employer did not object to the employee’s arrest at that locale. A subsequent investigation by OSHA’s Whistleblower Security Method concluded that the employer’s actions constituted retaliation versus the employee and was for that reason unlawful. 

Under U.S. Labor Regulation, stories offering rise to OSHA proceedings are protected activities underneath Portion 11(c) of the Occupational Security and Wellbeing Act (OSH Act), which prohibits retaliation against staff members for reporting workplace violations. The OSH Act prohibits employers from retaliating against workers who work out their legal rights below the Act, no matter of the employee’s immigration standing. The OSH Act delivers safe and sound and nutritious workplaces for workers in the United States, and OSHA functions to make sure that office ailments in this region continue to be risk-free for all staff. 

Jury Awards Significant Verdict Against Employer

The lawsuit versus the employer went to demo and was lately resolved by a jury, which awarded the staff $50,000 in compensatory damages and $600,000 in punitive damages.  Specially, the jury assessed $200,000 in punitive damages versus the employer’s firm and $400,000 against the personal employer who documented the employee to ICE. In accordance to Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda, “[t]he Office of Labor will not tolerate retaliation towards workforce who complain of workplace abuses, which include when an employer seeks to use an employee’s perceived immigration standing as a way to intimidate workers. Effective enforcement of worker security legislation depends on workers getting empowered and emotion harmless adequate to speak out for them selves and their fellow employees. If personnel are brave more than enough to arrive ahead, we will use all authorized equipment we have to protect them.”

Verdict Highlights Rights of Immigrant Employees to Report Workplace Violations

The verdict sends a sturdy information to businesses who search for retaliation versus employees who workout their legal rights beneath the regulation. Even further, the verdict highlights that an employee’s immigration position has no bearing on their ability to exercising their rights under labor law to report workplace violations in the United States.

©2022 Norris McLaughlin P.A., All Rights Reserved
Nationwide Law Critique, Volume XII, Quantity 243

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