OSHA Recovers $275K For Employee Who Blew Whistle on Safety Infractions at John Deere Plant

You could say that tractor manufacturer John Deere will pay dearly for its firing of a pipefitter allegedly for reporting unsafe working conditions.

Under a settlement announced yesterday by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Deere & Co., which operates as John Deere, agreed to pay $204,315 in back wages and “front pay” and $70,685 in other damages to the pipefitter who reported safety violations at the company’s Moline, Illinois plant.

An investigation by OSHA found the pipefitter was dismissed on June 4, 2012, allegedly in retaliation for reporting unsafe working conditions at the Moline facility to OSHA on three separate occasions. OSHA’s subsequent investigations cited hazards at the facility in April 2010, January 2012 and May 2012.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower 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.

Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise concerns or provide information to their employer or the government under any of these laws. Employees who believe they are a victim of retaliation for engaging in protected conduct may file a complaint with OSHA’s Directorate of Whistleblower Protection Programs.

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