OSHA filed suit Nov. 17 against PACCAR Inc., doing business as Peterbilt Motor Co., to force the company to reinstate an employee who was allegedly fired for raising COVID-19 concerns at a Texas manufacturing plant.
The agency is asking the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to order the company to reinstate the employee to his former position; pay back wages, interest, compensatory and punitive damages; and expunge his personnel record.
In March 2020, the employee told a supervisor of his concerns regarding exposure to COVID-19 at Peterbilt’s Denton, TX, facility.
The employee was told the company planned to clean work spaces and continue work as usual.
When the company found out the employee expressed his concerns publicly about the company’s response, Peterbilt fired the employee, according to a Department of Labor news release.
OSHA investigated the incident and found the employee was engaged in protected activity by raising his concerns about the coronavirus and that the company violated federal whistleblower protections, leading to the lawsuit.