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Judge Rules Lloyd Industries Must Pay Record Damages for Retaliation

Aug. 26, 2019
Court rules company must pay largest punitive award ever given under the OSH Act.

Lloyd Industies Inc., a Pennsylvania-based fire protection equipment manufacturer, is feeling the heat after a federal judge ruled against the company for retaliating against its workers.

The decision comes after a jury determined that owner William P. Lloyd illegally fired two employees following an OSHA inspection.

“The court recognized that all employees have a federally protected right to speak out against unsafe and unhealthy working conditions, to participate in U.S. Department of Labor investigations, and to be compensated if they are terminated in retaliation for exercising those rights,” said Regional Solicitor Oscar L. Hampton III, in Philadelphia. “The significant punitive damages sends a strong message to this employer and others that deliberately violating these laws will not be tolerated.”

In 2014, OSHA conducted an investigation of the Lloyd Industries subsequent to an incident in which a worker suffered the amputation of three fingers. After the on-site investigation was initiated, Lloyd immediately terminated the employment of worker who was injured. Shortly after the agency completed the workplace examination, the company fired another worker for cooperating after OSHA assessed penalties for health and safety violations.

On April 2, a jury found that the acts of retaliation were in direct violation of Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act). A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania awarded a total of $1,047,399 in lost wages and punitive damages to the two former employees.

The court's findings state Lloyd Industries “deliberatlely flouted" the act and granted a landmark $500,000 in punitive damages, the highest monetary value ever awarded under the act.

A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has awarded $1,047,399 in lost wages and punitive damages to two former employees of a Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania, manufacturer after a jury found the company and its owner fired them in retaliation for their participation in a federal safety investigation.

On April 2, 2019, a jury determined that Lloyd Industries Inc. and owner, William P. Lloyd, illegally fired the employees because they participated in a 2014 inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The inspection followed an incident in which one of the employees’ co-workers suffered the amputation of three fingers.

In addition to punitive damages, the judge granted the former employees $547,399 in front and back pay and prejudgment interest as well as additional amounts to compensate for the adverse tax consequences of their receiving a large, one-time payment.

The judge also ordered that Lloyd Industries and William P. Lloyd post an anti-retaliation notice at the plant immediately, and never again violate Section 11(c) of the OSH Act.

About the Author

Stefanie Valentic

Stefanie Valentic was formerly managing editor of EHS Today, and is currently editorial director of Waste360.

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