BOSS WATCH: 9/29 - 10/6
Updated On: Nov 20, 2023

BOSS WATCH: 9/29 - 10/6

By JACOB MORRISON October 10, 2023

Illegal activities of Southern Bosses for the week ending on Friday, October 6

A 29-year-old employee of a Florida marine construction company drowned in five feet of water after being pinned under a fallen crane in March 2023. Federal workplace safety investigators determined the company could have prevented the fatality by following required safety standards.

Employees of Upper Keys Marine Construction LLC were installing a piling foundation for a residential boat lift when the crane tipped over and fell into the water. The employee, who was inappropriately tasked to ride the load of the crane, became pinned under the crane’s hammer and drowned. 

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found the company violated federal safety standards when they:

  • Failed to have a lifesaving skiff immediately available during offshore operations.

  • Permitted an uncertified crane operator to operate the equipment.

  • Failed to comply with the crane manufacturer’s stability and load capacity for the crane.

  • Permitted workers to ride the load attached to the boom of a crane during pile-driving operations.

  • Operated a crane that was not physically secured to the barge.

OSHA issued the company nine serious citations and proposed $92,191 in penalties, an amount set by federal statute for the violations.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of their citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Worldwide Printing and Distribution, Inc. a commercial printing, direct mailing and direct marketing company operating out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, violated federal law when a supervisor harassed an employee with racial and national origin slurs after the employee shared her DNA ancestry results, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, in or around August 2022, the employee received results from an at-home DNA test kit showing she had ancestry from Cameroon and the Congo. When the worker’s supervisor learned about her DNA results, the supervisor began calling her names such as “ape” and “Congo.” The supervisor also began mocking the employee, saying she was “swinging through trees” and was an “ape princess” looking for a “king.” 

The employee repeatedly asked the supervisor to stop the harassment to no avail, the EEOC said. When the employee complained about the harassment to a higher-level manager, he participated in the harassment and did nothing to stop it. The EEOC charges that the harassment was so intolerable the employee was forced to resign. But not even her resignation stopped the harassment – according to the suit, the supervisor obtained the employee’s phone number and sent her a text calling her “Congo” following her resignation, the EEOC said.

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement via its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks monetary relief for the victim, an order prohibiting similar discrimination and harassment, and other relief.

Ecoserv, LLC, an industrial cleaning company in Abbeville, Louisiana, violated federal law by engaging in a pattern or practice of refusing to hire applicants who were Black, female, or 40 years old or over, and by firing a human resources employee who opposed the discrim­inatory practices, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed on Sept. 22.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Ecoserv instructed a former human resources employee to limit the number of African American workers she hired. The HR official also became aware of other discriminatory practices of not hiring women or older workers for non-office positions. The HR official opposed Ecoserv’s practices by refusing to discriminate and informing a manager that she believed the company’s hiring practices violated the law. Shortly thereafter, Ecoserv retaliated against her by firing her. The lawsuit alleges that evidence confirmed that Ecoserv routinely engaged in discrimination by denying employment to Black, female and older applicants for non-salaried, non-office positions.

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Lafayette Division, (Civil Action No. 23-1321) after first trying to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

  • A worker at Six Flags over Georgia was killed after she fell out of a van and hit her on the asphalt. The worker was a scare actor being transported with others during a Halloween activity at the park. Employees reached out to a large twitter account about Georgia and said that this happened because they were, as they always were, being transported in a van with the doors open and “no way for the scare actors to secure themselves inside.”

  • Inspectors with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration observed employees of A1A Roofing Contractor LLC of Loxahatchee in Florida working without fall protection on pitched roofs at heights up to 32 feet. They also found the subcontractor allowed one worker to use a broken harness and failed to train employees on how to recognize and prevent falls. OSHA cited the company for similar violations in September 2022. OSHA is proposing $160,000 in penalties.

  • The USDOL recovered $37,000 in stolen health and welfare benefits for 56 employees from a Wendy’s franchise in Guam.

  • A McDonalds manager in Oklohoma sexually harassaed a 17 year old girl. According to the lawsuit: After subjecting the teenager to sexual comments and innuendo for about a month, the male supervisor grabbed her by the waist in a dark, isolated storage shed and said he could rape her. When Arch Fellow North LLC (the franchise owner) learned about the incident and other sexual harassing conduct by the supervisor, it failed to take prompt or effective remedial action to protect the girl and other workers. Instead, the company allowed the supervisor to continue supervising the victim and other teenage girls.

  • An employee at Sun Chemical’s manufacturing facility in Kansas City, Missouri was subjected to a racially hostile work environment when a coworker verbally and physically harassed him with profanity in the lunchroom, followed him into the locker room, slammed his hand into the locker next to the employee, and called him the N-word. Supervisory employees at the facility were aware of that coworker using the N-word in the workplace on multiple prior occasions but failed to take prompt and appropriate corrective action. When the employee complained about being racially harassed by his coworker, Sun Chemical retaliated by issuing him a written warning for using profanity against the harasser.

  • A manager at a Chipotle in Lenexa, KS repeatedly asked a Muslim employee to remove her hijab, pressuring her to show him her hair. Despite the teen’s rejections and complaints to management, Chipotle failed to act to stop the manager’s harassment. Chipotle’s inaction resulted in the manager escalating his abuse, ultimately grabbing and forcibly removing part of the teen’s hijab. After the teen reported the incident, Chipotle again failed to take prompt corrective action, and instead retaliated against the teen by refusing to schedule her to work additional shifts unless she agreed to transfer locations, while allowing her harasser to continue working at the same location.

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