When workers alert their bosses to possible dangers and risks to consumers, they may think they will be rewarded for performing above and beyond their job responsibilities. After all, they may have single-handedly prevented lawsuits that could be brought against their employer if the dangers had gone unreported. This was not the case for a former employee of Smithfield Packing Co. in North Carolina who has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the company.
The dispute is that of an alleged incident of employer retaliation between an employee doing what she thought was her due diligence, and her employer, who may have unjustly terminated her employment. Indiana residents deliberating the retaliatory risks associated with standing up for their well-being or the well-being of others may be interested in watching how this suit plays out in North Carolina.
The employee of a meat-packing plant has stated that she was wrongfully terminated after she continued to report to management health and safety violations the company was committing by distributing possibly contaminated meat. She states the meat at one time was contaminated by a burst of hydraulic fluid. It is reported that she took photographs of the alleged contaminated meat being packaged for distribution. She states that management knew it was unlawful to continue distributing contaminated meat to consumers. She also states that her multiple complaints to management were disregarded.
It is wrong for employers to discriminate against whistleblowers. If this is what happened at the packing company, this employee was only doing her job and trying to protect consumers from health risks. Employees should not be at risk of losing their job if they speak up against possible violations or unsafe operations. If you do find yourself wrongfully terminated, following in the footsteps of this employee and filing a lawsuit claiming wrongful termination may be the best option. It is your right to defend yourself if you are ever in this situation.
Source: Fay Observer, “Former Smithfield Packing Co. worker claims wrongful termination in lawsuit,” Michael Futch, Feb. 15, 2014