York Building Products must pay a terminated plant manager $135,000 in back wages and damages as a result of a Occupational Safety and Health Administration whistleblower investigation.
The manager worked at the company’s Lower Swatara Township plant in October 2014, according to a news release from OSHA. In that time, he repeatedly reported air quality and other safety concerns to upper management, including one instance in which a plant worker complained of falling ill because of excessive dust.
“During this process, we’ve fully cooperated with the Department of Labor because we did nothing wrong,” the company said in a prepared statement. “At no time did we receive any complaints from an employee, or we would have acted immediately.“
The manager was fired less than two weeks after he was hired, according to the release. He filed two complaints with OSHA – one alleging safety and health hazards at the plant, and the other saying the company fired him in retaliation for reporting these issues.
OSHA ultimately found 38 violations at the plant, including air samplings that showed some plant employees had been exposed to illegal quantities of silica dust. These violations resulted in $38,880 in fines.
The whistleblower investigation found the company violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Occupational Safety and Health Act when it fired the manager who reported the concerns.
In addition to paying the back wages and damages under this whistleblower settlement, York Building Products must provide supervisors with anti-retaliation training at the plant.
York Building Products, a subsidiary of The Stewart Companies, is one of the Mid-Atlantic region’s largest masonry providers, according to the release.
“Our reputation is important to us, but we also recognize reality: We simply do not have unlimited litigation resources like the federal government,” the company said. “For that reason alone, we’ve made the difficult decision to end this battle and return our attention to our employees and the high quality products we provide to our dedicated customers.”