Loyal, dedicated workers may at some point in their careers face a dilemma if their employer is engaged in some prohibited activity. The most common situations deal with safety issues in the workplace. This could be a problem with fumes and air exhaust, failing to have proper safety guards, not replacing broken equipment or certain lifting devices, or not utilizing proper supervision for laborers.
Speaking out in one company may be welcome and lead to positive changes, yet in another company it can lead to an uncomfortable conversation with bosses, or worse, retaliation. The variety of possible outcomes is even broader when complaints are made to outside agencies like the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (“OSHA”), the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), the Department of Consumer Protection (“DCP”), or the Department of Public Health (“DPH”). Instead of listening and correcting a dangerous practice, some managers may take offense to an administrative complaint and may try to penalize the whistleblower.
In cases where speaking out causes repercussions such as being unfairly disciplined or discharged, Connecticut affords workers’ statutory safeguards. Specifically, CGS Section 31-51m allows an aggrieved worker to bring an action in Superior Court and sue for back wages and benefits that the worker would otherwise be entitled to for any discipline or discharge.
In addition, attorney’s fees and costs may be collected in any action brought under this statute. If you have any questions as a whistleblower, get advice quickly. Feel free to contact Attorney Bruce Newman at (860) 583-5200 to discuss your situation, and stand up for safety on the job!