13 AT&T workers were suspended without pay for reporting workplace injuries, which has prompted a lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The department filed the lawsuit against the Ohio Bell Telephone Company, which operates as AT&T, on behalf of 13 employees who received unpaid suspension after reporting work-related injuries from 2011 to 2013.
“It is against the law for employers to discipline or suspend employees for reporting injuries,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “AT&T must understand that by discouraging workers from reporting injuries, it increases the likelihood of more workers being injured in the future. And the Labor Department will do everything in its power to prevent this type of retaliation.”
The complaint states that in 13 separate incidents, workers at AT&T were disciplined and given 1-3 days of unpaid suspension for reporting injuries that occurred on the job. The company alleged that the employee violated a corporate workplace safety hazard, however, OSHA’s investigation found that the suspensions were a result of workers reporting their injuries, not their actual injuries sustained.
The company is accused of violating the whistleblower provisions of the OSHA Act of 1970.
Under any of these laws, employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise concerns or provide information to their employer or the government under any of these laws.
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