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Workers with lead poisoning fired for seeking compensation

A group of nine former employees from a shooting range say that they were fired in retaliation for filing a workers compensation claim. They filed the claim after their boss improperly ordered them to sift through soil at the range which was filled with lead and other chemicals found in bullets. They were not provided with proper safety equipment to protect them from exposure, and as a result became sick from lead poisoning.

Sometimes in these cases, employers deny that they knew that there was danger of exposure to employees or they deny having given the instructions or failing to provide safety equipment. In this case, the employees say that they were told to work at night so that their activities would not been seen by health and safety officials charged with protecting workers. If this allegation is true, then it is clear that their employer knew that the workers were being exposed to chemicals in violation of the law and their rights.

After working with the contaminated soil for a month, the employees began to show signs of illness and sought treatment, whereupon they discovered that they were suffering from lead poisoning. The employees realized that they had been mistreated and that their employer was acting in violation of the law, and they began raising concerns with health and safety officials as well as filing workers compensation claims to help pay for their medical expenses. Shortly thereafter, they were wrongfully terminated.

This type of conduct is clearly unacceptable and employees in Pennsylvania should not tolerate similar circumstances in their workplaces. It is lawful to file for workers compensation and it is illegal for employees to be fired for filing such claims.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Fired for Getting Lead Poisoning, Nine Say," June Williams, Feb. 14, 2013.

More information about wrongful termination is available on our website.

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