Department of Labor suing manufacturing company, claims employee fired after voicing safety concerns

Local News

PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE 28/WYOU 22 EYEWITNESS NEWS) — The U.S. Department of Labor is suing a paper products manufacturing company in Plains Township, after allegedly firing an employee for reporting safety concerns.

The Department of Labor says Midvale Paper Box Co. terminated an employee who requested safety gloves to operate a shredder and baler. An employee suffered a injury on the job and a supervisor denied multiple requests for protective equipment, according to the department.

In 2017, a compliance officer with OSHA conducted a safety inspection at the company in response to a complaint alleging the company failed to provide personal protective equipment and made employees unjam machines without implementing required procedures.

The report also states, the worker, whose hand injury occurred after the company denied the first request for safety gloves, asked twice more after the inspection but the company denied the requests.

The department alleges Midvale Paper Box Co. Inc. later terminated the worker in retaliation for multiple requests for gloves, participating in OSHA’s safety investigation and that the worker filed the safety complaint that initiated the investigation — when the employee filed the complaint with OSHA after their firing.

“Retaliation against employees for engaging in protected activities will not be tolerated. We have, therefore, filed the complaint to pursue any and all legal remedies available under the act,” said Regional Solicitor Oscar L. Hampton III.

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