Most companies across the country and here in Texas comply with the environmental and safety standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. However, some companies are not in compliance, and employees might report those deficiencies. In some cases, those employees could become a victim of retaliation and wrongful termination for being a whistleblower.
A woman, who is not from Texas, recently announced that she is going to file a lawsuit against her former employer for retaliation, along with age and gender discrimination. She worked for the same company for approximately 31 years and rose into management during that time. While there, she came to believe that the company was not in compliance with existing environmental laws.
She claims that she insisted that the company get into compliance and, when it failed to do so, became a whistleblower. After that, she was subjected to retaliation and eventually fired. She also claims that part of the reason she was fired was because she is a woman. She alleges that she can show that women were not treated as well as the men at the company -- particularly at the management level. The company's brief statement indicated that it denies her allegations.
As would be the case here in Texas, it will be up to the court to determine whether the woman was, in fact, a victim of wrongful termination. Employees should not have to fear that they will be fired or suffer from retaliation for ensuring that the company is following prevailing laws regarding safety, environmental issues or other matters. If someone believes that he or she was fired for what is referred to as whistleblowing, federal laws exist to protect that person, and he or she should not hesitate to pursue all legal options available.
Source: wach.com, "Former SCANA employee suing company for wrongful termination", Matthew Stevens, April 29, 2016