MOLINE, Illinois — John Deere signed a settlement agreement on Dec. 12 to pay a former employee more than $204,000 in back wages and "front pay" and nearly $71,000 in other damages. The settlement resolves a lawsuit that had been filed in July 2015, which alleged that a pipefitter was fired from the Moline facility in June 2012 after reporting unsafe working conditions and filing a complaint with OSHA.
Deere did not admit liability in the case, but has agreed to pay the pipefitter about $275,000. The payments will be made in installments to be paid in full by Jan. 31, 2018.
An investigation by OSHA found the pipefitter was dismissed on June 4, 2012, allegedly in retaliation for reporting unsafe working conditions at the Moline facility to OSHA on three separate occasions. OSHA’s subsequent investigations cited hazards at the facility in April 2010, January 2012 and May 2012.
“The settlement of this case represents a true win for an employee who was willing to risk his job to ensure workplace safety for himself and his co-workers,” said Kenneth Nishiyama Atha, regional administrator for OSHA in Chicago. “Commitment to workplace safety should be commended – not punished. The department will do everything in its power to prevent retaliation against workers who report unsafe working conditions.”
To ask questions, file a complaint or report workplace dangers or injuries, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742 or the whistleblower's office in Chicago at 312-353-2220.