A mechanic who filed a whistleblower retaliation complaint against the Chicago-area bowling alley where he formerly worked will receive $40,000 in back wages as part of a consent judgment between the employer and federal regulators.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said the mechanic filed a whistleblower complaint alleging that Lucky Strike Entertainment LLC, a bowling center in Lombard, Illinois, terminated him in June 2015 in retaliation for voicing concerns about unsafe working conditions.
Federal statutes regulating workplace safety prohibit employers from retaliating against workers who raise concerns over workplace conditions or practices that put the safety and health of employees at risk. Whistleblower retaliation can take many forms, such as harassment, demotion, isolation, and termination.
After the whistleblower filed a complaint, OSHA investigated the allegations and filed a lawsuit against the bowling center under the anti-retaliation provision of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
In addition to payment of back wages, Lucky Strike agreed to remove all references to the worker’s termination from his employee record. The business also agreed to provide a neutral reference to prospective employers.
“The settlement of this case represents a true win for an employee who was willing to risk his job to ensure workplace safety for himself and his co-workers,” said OSHA Chicago Region Administrator Kenneth Nishiyama Atha. “Commitment to workplace safety should be commended – not punished.”
OSHA plays a critical role in seeking justice for whistleblowers who are coping with retaliation by their employer just because they raise concerns over safety and health. The agency enforces provisions of 22 statutes protecting employees who report violations of various airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, motor vehicle safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, and securities laws.