Airline Company Accused of Retaliating Against Employees

Airline Company Accused of Retaliating Against Employees

( – In August 2022, the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) kicked off an investigation when it received claims by a whistleblower regarding alleged retaliatory practices perpetrated by American Airlines. Employees complained they were getting sick from toxic fumes in the airplane cabins. After they spoke up, some flight attendants claimed the company took attendance points away and encouraged them not to report the incidents.

On January 4, OSHA released a report about the accusations. The department said it investigated the incidents and discovered employees not only did the right thing by reporting the fumes entering the cabin, but it was a “protected” activity. OSHA said it’s important that employees feel comfortable making employers aware of unsafe working conditions without fear of retaliation. In this case, it was bringing up the issue of fumes from jet fuel making workers sick.

OSHA then wrote a letter to American Airlines detailing citations the company was receiving for violating the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. OSHA Area Director, Timothy Minor, noted the airline would likely be responsible for $6,837 in penalty fines. He also stated there are laws to protect workers from retaliation, so they can work in a safe environment. Minor said when companies betray the trust, it creates a bad precedent for workers to come forward.

The notice said the airline has 15 business days from the time it received the notice to either request a meeting with the OSHA director in the area or contest the findings before the commission. In the letter, the department also included instructions, a request for a conference, and a corrective action worksheet for American Airlines to remedy the situation.

The notice also reiterated the fact that employees in every industry are protected by the OSHA Whistleblower Protection Program.

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