Any New York business that employs people has a moral and legal obligation to create a safe working environment for its workers. When workplace injuries do occur, they have a duty to make sure that their employees feel comfortable reporting them to their superiors without fear of retaliation.

Many companies flout these rules in an attempt to avoid dealing with workers’ compensation issues. AT&T, the communication giant, has recently had accusations leveled against them that they disciplined employees who reported injuries by giving them poor performance appraisals.

According to a suit filed by the federal Department of Labor, the company allegedly violated the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 by doling out lower performance ratings to employees who reported being injured on the job while following safety regulations.

The suit stems from four cases:

  • On a service call in 2011, an employee broke his wrist. Upon returning to work, he was allegedly handed a performance notice, a known precursor to firing.
  • In January 2011, an employee in Parkville, Mo. hurt his knee and reported it. On his year-end appraisal, he was rated poorly on safety, allegedly because of the accident.
  • One employee turned his ankle while on a call and reportedly was given a “Level Two Written Reminder” that said he was not following the company’s slip and fall policy. The reminder skipped the first disciplinary step, violating the company’s own rules.
  • Another employee received a similar performance notice allegedly after a back injury was reported.

AT&T is denying any wrongdoing.

If you feel like your company is treating employees who report workplace injuries unfairly, a New York attorney may be able help you build your case.

Source: Kansas.com, “Labor Department sues AT&T, alleging retaliation for employees reporting injuries,” Jerry Siebenmark, May 15, 2014