December 18, 2019
U.S. Department of Labor Orders New York Carrier to Compensate Former
Seaman Fired After Cooperation with Federal Investigation of Explosion
NEW YORK, NY – A whistleblower investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has discovered that Bouchard Transportation Company Inc., B. No. 272 Corp – a petroleum barge firm primarily based in Melville, New York – and its officers violated the whistleblower safety provisions of the Seaman’s Protection Act (SPA) when it retaliated in opposition to a seaman who cooperated with U.S. Coast Guard (USCG).
OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program investigators concluded that actions of Bouchard Transportation Company Inc., B. No. 272 Corp; Morton S. Bouchard, III; Brendan Bouchard; and Kevin Donohue, constituted retaliation in opposition to the seaman for protected exercise below the SPA and would dissuade an affordable seaman from reporting questions of safety.
On October 20, 2017, the barge Buster Bouchard/B. No. 255 exploded off Port Aransas, Texas, killing two Bouchard Transportation staff. One of the victims’ brother, who was additionally a Bouchard Transportation Company worker, claimed he was fired for cooperating with investigators and reporting different security issues to the USCG. Under the SPA, reporting alleged violations of maritime security legal guidelines and laws, cooperating with USCG security investigations and furnishing data to the USCG about info associated to any marine casualty leading to dying, are protected actions.
The seaman engaged in protected exercise starting a number of days after his brother’s dying, and Bouchard Transportation Company Inc., B. No. 272 Corp; Morton S. Bouchard, III; Brendan Bouchard; and Kevin Donohue fired him simply over three months later. In early January 2018, the seaman inquired about when he might return to work, and obtained no response. They then gave him no motive for his January 31, 2018, termination.
OSHA has preliminarily ordered the employer to pay the seaman:
- Back pay with curiosity plus compensatory damages for losses to his 401(ok);
- An further two years of misplaced wages in lieu of reinstatement;
- No lower than $50,000 for emotional misery, ache and struggling, lack of fame, and psychological anguish ensuing from Bouchard’s opposed employment motion; and
- No lower than $200,000 in punitive damages for Bouchard Transportation Company Inc., B. No. 272 Corp; Morton S. Bouchard, III; Brendan Bouchard; and Kevin Donohue’s reckless disregard for the legislation and callous indifference for seamen’s rights below the SPA and egregious conduct.
OSHA additionally ordered the employer to chorus from making any opposed statements with respect to the seaman’s termination and/or any of the info at concern on this case; and to coach – inside 60 days from receipt of OSHA’s Preliminary Order – its managers and staff about seamen’s rights below the SPA with out concern of retaliation and supply proof of such coaching to OSHA.
“This case revealed troubling safety violations in the wake of a seaman’s death and it exemplifies how a culture of intimidation can have disastrous results for seamen,” mentioned OSHA Regional Administrator Richard Mendelson. “Employers and vessel owners must know and respect that the Seaman’s Protection Act safeguards seamen’s cooperation with USCG and other safety investigations and the reporting of safety concerns.”
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of SPA and 22 other statutes defending staff who report violations of varied airline, business motor provider, client product, environmental, monetary reform, meals security, motorcar security, healthcare reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation company, railroad, maritime, and securities legal guidelines. For extra data on whistleblower protections, go to OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Programs webpage.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers are accountable for offering protected and healthful workplaces for his or her staff. OSHA’s function is to assist guarantee these situations for America’s working women and men by setting and implementing requirements, and offering coaching, training and help. For extra data, go to http://www.osha.gov.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; enhance working situations; advance alternatives for worthwhile employment; and guarantee work-related advantages and rights.
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Editor’s notice: The U.S. Department of Labor doesn’t launch the names of staff concerned in whistleblower complaints.
Release Number: 19-2031-NEW/BOS 2019-210
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