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SAFETY / OSHA / WORKERS' COMPENSATION 3/8/06

Manufacturer to pay back wages, punitive damages to employees fired for filing OSHA complaint

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York has ordered a Ransomville, New York, tool manufacturer and its president to pay two workers a total of $35,800 in back wages and $10,500 in punitive damages for terminating them from their jobs after the men filed a complaint with OSHA.

The order requires defendants V.R.K. Manufacturing and Tools Co. Inc. and company president Roman Klur to make payment within 60 days and permanently prohibits them from violating the anti-retaliation provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

The employees were fired on May 3, 2003, one week after filing a complaint with OSHA about safety and health issues at their workplace. The workers then filed a whistleblower complaint with OSHA, alleging they were discriminated against for exercising the rights granted them under the OSH Act. OSHA's investigation found merit in the complaint and the agency sought reinstatement, back pay and benefits for the workers. When the employer repeatedly refused to settle the matter, the U.S. Labor Department filed suit in federal court to enforce the findings.

For additional information on this and related topics, consult CCH Employment Safety & Health Guide .

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