Q: Can I take legal action against a current employer when I expressed repeated unsafe workplace activities?
I have an ongoing concern at my current workplace that does not seem to be changing. And I am seeking legal advice.
I have written a statement to a current employer about harassment, unprofessional discriminatory comments, and unsafe distribution activities with heavy machinery by an employee. It has been several weeks and there has been no significant changes. In fact I submitted a timeline, with timeframes on each day of the occurrences. There are cameras. And it seems when they do speak to the employee they immediately seek to use heavy machinery as a form of threatening harassment and dangerous activities. What can be done? It has been two months of this ongoing.
First of all, I would like to tell you that I'm sorry that you are having to go through these things at your workplace.
As for the harassment and the discriminatory comments, largely, these will be lumped together as to how they are treated in the legal context. To constitute either, generally, the harassment and/or comments must be based on certain personal attributes, including race, skin color, national origin, age, sex, and religious beliefs. Additionally, veteran status and pregnancy are conditions that are protected under some states' laws. If you feel that this is present, then your next step is to file an inquiry, and subsequently a charge of discrimination, with either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or your state's equivalent agency. The agency will then investigate and ultimately will give you a right to sue.
As for the unsafe activities, the best route for this would likely be to file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Both of these can be done online on each respective agency's website.
I would note that I practice in Tennessee and that I am not licensed in New York; however, most employment cases are dictated by federal law, which is usually relatively universal across the country.
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