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The Fight For Workplace Safety: DOL Sues Georgia Pesticide Manufacturer

The Fight For Workplace Safety: DOL Sues Georgia Pesticide Manufacturer

Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has taken a stand against workplace safety violations by suing a Georgia pesticide and agricultural chemical manufacturer. The lawsuit alleges that the company illegally terminated a worker who had filed a workplace safety complaint with federal regulators, shedding light on the crucial issue of employee protection and the cost of speaking up for safety.

Allegations And Retaliation

The DOL filed the suit against Gainesville-based Avenger Products LLC and its parent company, Kittrich Corp, citing the wrongful termination of an employee who had raised concerns about chemical exposures in the workplace. This move comes after a federal whistleblower investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) uncovered the alleged retaliation against the worker for voicing safety apprehensions.

OSHA’s Assistant Regional Administrator in Atlanta emphasized the impact of employer retaliation on employees’ willingness to engage with federal safety investigators. She stated that it creates a chilling effect that hampers the cooperation necessary for ensuring workplace safety.

Legal Action And Consequences

The lawsuit filed by the DOL seeks justice for the terminated employee by demanding back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and damages for emotional distress from Avenger Products. It’s a strong message to employers who disregard their employees' rights and prioritize their own interests over the well-being of their workforce.

In addition, the DOL highlighted the company’s troubling history of workplace safety violations over 20 years, with proposed penalties totaling $254,189 between June 2018 and December 2019. These repeated violations underscore the urgency of addressing the company’s disregard for safety protocols and the need for accountability in safeguarding employees.

How A PEO Can Help

To ensure your business doesn’t make the same mistakes as Avenger Products LLC, consider partnering with a professional employer organization (PEO). A PEO like GMS offers various services; however, in this instance, it can help business owners prevent cases of workplace safety violations, employee lawsuits, and compliance issues. This strategic partnership mitigates the risk of costly lawsuits and ensures a focus on essential business operations. Ultimately, gaining access to the expertise and resources of a PEO empowers business owners to proactively safeguard their workforce and maintain a compliant, secure, and efficient work environment. Contact our safety team today to learn how we can make your business simpler, safer, and stronger.

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