Company to Pay Back Pay, Damages to Whistleblowers

A New York-based tool manufacturer has been ordered to pay two former workers who were fired for filing a complaint with OSHA about workplace safety and health issues.

V.R.K. Mfg. and Tools Co. and company president Roman Klur were given 60 days by Chief Judge Richard J. Acara to pay the two laborers a total of $35,800 in back ways and $10,500 in punitive damages.

"No workers should be fired, penalized or discriminated against for voicing workplace safety and health concerns, said Patricia K. Clark, OSHA's regional administrator. "This decision reaffirms that basic right as well as the Labor Department's commitment to taking appropriate and aggressive steps to enforce the law."

The two employees were fired on May 3, 2003, one week after filing a complaint with OSHA about safety and health issues at their workplace. The workers then filed a whistleblower complaint with OSHA, alleging they were discriminated against for exercising the rights granted them to them under the OSH Act.

After investigating the complaint, OSHA sought reinstatement, back pay and benefits for the workers. After V.R. K Mfg. refused to settle the matter, the Labor Department filed suit in federal court to enforce the findings.

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