As a general rule, an Indiana resident is under at-will employment. This typically means that employees can quit whenever they want and employers can let employees go whenever they want. However, there are some circumstances when employers cannot simply terminate an employee without possibly facing legal consequences. A man in another state is pursuing a wrongful discharge claim against his employer.
According to the lawsuit, the man began working for Mountain Country Partners in Aug. 2011. At the time, his position was a rig operator, among other roles. In the spring of 2015, Mountain County Partners was purchased by Standard Oil.
On the first of June, the man claims that he informed his supervisor of an unsafe rig to which he had was assigned. He says that there were safety violations on the rig that made it dangerous to operate. Earlier that week, he apparently provided his supervisor with a list of defects on the rig. The supervisor reportedly informed the VP of production of the rig defects. However, the man says he was subsequently instructed to either operate the rig or leave and go home.
The man asserts that he and another co-worker told their supervisor of the unsafe rig a second time. Subsequently, they were fired. The working conditions were reported to the OSHA, but Standard Oil notified OSHA that the unsafe conditions had been fixed.
The man has filed a lawsuit against Standard Oil, claiming that he was a victim of a wrongful discharge and was not properly compensated for the hours he worked. He seeks various damages, including past and future wages and emotional distress. Indiana employers are not permitted to retaliate against employees who report unsafe working conditions. When employers fail to abide by the law, they may be held accountable via a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Source: wvrecord.com, “Walton man sues Standard Oil, alleging wrongful termination“, San Harkins, Aug. 25, 2015