Paper box manufacturer to pay $13K for firing worker mistakenly believed to have filed OSHA complaint

May 17, 2023
Midvale Paper Box Company Inc. of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, has been ordered by a federal district court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania to pay $13,000 to a former employee.

Midvale Paper Box Company Inc. of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, has been ordered by a federal district court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania to pay $13,000 to a former employee. In 2017, a Midvale employee filed a safety complaint with OSHA. The worker claimed that the box manufacturer was not providing PPE to its employees and did not have any LOTO procedures in place. After an OSHA inspection, the company received several citations, and they subsequently fired an employee they believed has filed the complaint. That employee then filed a whistleblower claim with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), alleging that Midvale had wrongly terminated them because the company and its owner, David Frank, believed mistakenly that the employee they terminated had filed the OSHA complaint. The DOL filed a complaint in federal court alleging the defendants violated the terminated employee's whistleblower rights under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

In a recent quote, OSHA Regional Administrator Michael Rivera in Philadelphia said, "Protecting the right of an employee to file a federal workplace safety complaint or participate in an OSHA inspection are critical components in OSHA's mission. Midvale Paper Box Company and owner David Frank are being held accountable for violating this employee's rights."