OSHA: La., SC co.s settle whistleblower suit

Jobs and WorkplaceOccupational Safety and Health AdministrationBaton RougeWGNOFluor Corporation

The U.S. Department of Labor says companiesin Louisiana and South Carolina are settling a lawsuit allegingthey illegally fired a crane operator in Texas for making safetyand health complaints.

It reported Thursday that the man repeatedly told his employer,MMR Contractors of Baton Rouge, and general contractor Fluor Corp.of Greenville, S.C., that a crane lift was unsafe.

Fluor, according to a news release, told MMR to remove theworker from the Oak Grove Power Plant worksite in Franklin, Texas,and MMR did. It says both claimed he was fired for disruptivebehavior.

The companies did not immediately respond to a request forcomment.

The labor department said they agreed to pay $17,500 in backwages; purge any mention of his firing from his personnel file andprovide neutral employment references. It says they also agreed notto unlawfully retaliate against any worker.

Labor spokesman Juan Rodriguez said the man was an instrumentfitter certified for a number of construction jobs, including craneoperation. The statement said the Labor Department does not releasenames of workers in whistleblower complaints.

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