New York employees and those elsewhere have a reasonable expectation to work in an environment that is free from unnecessary safety risks. When workers notice safety concerns that may affect themselves or others, they should have the ability to report those concerns without fear of repercussion. However, some individuals may face retaliation from employers after making such concerns known.
It was recently reported that FedEx was ordered to pay over $7 million to two current employees and one former employee after they faced retaliation for raising safety concerns. Reports stated that the workers did not believe that the company was keeping their aircraft up to safety standards as required by the Federal Aviation Administration. As a result, they voiced those concerns, and instead of having their concerns addressed, they were disciplined.
One of the workers was terminated from his position, and another was demoted. The third worker was not promoted as a result and faced hostile treatment. Legal representation for FedEx claimed that the company had valid reasons for the disciplinary actions that did not relate to their safety concerns. Nonetheless, the court ordered the company to pay over $4 million to the fired worker and $344,000 to the demoted worker. The third worker was awarded over $3 million.
Retaliation against workers who raise safety concerns should not take place on the job. However, as this case shows, workers can easily face unjust disciplinary action. If New York workers feel that they have been retaliated against by their employers, they may want to determine whether their situations warrant legal action.