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Manufacturer ordered to pay workers in whistleblower dispute

Posted On: Jan. 29, 2019 9:52 AM CST

Manufacturer ordered to pay workers in whistleblower dispute

A manufacturer of retractable patio awnings was ordered to pay $160,000 to two workers who claimed they were fired for filing workplace safety complaints with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

OSHA investigated Eastern Awning Systems Inc. in Watertown, Connecticut, finding that the employer and the company’s owner unlawfully fired the employees for notifying the agency of alleged violations, OSHA said in a statement on Monday.

After the U.S. Department of Labor and the company were unable to resolve the allegations, the department filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut in November 2015.

In a consent judgment, the district court held that the terminated employees were entitled to back pay, interest, emotional and exemplary damages. The court order also restrains the company from discriminating against employees for exercising their rights, according to the statement.

The court also ordered Eastern Awning to provide neutral letters of reference for the two discharged employees, and to post the judgment and notice of employees’ rights prominently at the workplace.

Eastern Awning declined to comment on the court’s decision.