Some jobs are more dangerous than others. However, regardless of the type of work, you agree to the risks that may or may not be associated with accepting that position.
As a long-time security sergeant of the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDOA), Chris Logan knew what he signed up for — controlling access to the airport by members of the public, conducting non-law enforcement detentions, responding to disputes, and providing security.
But when he was asked to do the job of a law enforcement officer by responding to a bomb threat, Logan quickly found himself facing unsafe work conditions.
In This Article:
- Security Sergeant With No Explosives Training Fired For Not Responding to Bomb Threat
- What is Protected Concerted Activity?
- Employer Responsibilities in Collective Bargaining Agreements
- OSHA Protections From Unhealthful and Unsafe Work Conditions
- Contact An Employment Lawyer About Wrongful Termination or Retaliation
Security Sergeant With No Explosives Training Fired For Not Responding to Bomb Threat
On March 24, 2023, Logan was terminated for not responding to a bomb threat for which he had received no proper training on how to respond safely. Responding to a bomb threat without training to do so, without being a police officer, and without the benefit of tools and understanding of how to do this created unsafe work conditions. An employee has the right to refuse unsafe work conditions if they believe their lives or safety are at risk.
The situation was exactly “so inherently dangerous that it would excuse Sergeant Logan’s doing it.” That’s why Attorney Cass Casper with Disparti Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers is fighting to make Logan whole from the damages caused by his wrongful termination.
Fortunately, several state and federal agencies such as the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) oversee worker health and safety, process complaints, and ensure employers are maintaining safe work conditions.
What is Protected Concerted Activity?
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) enforces laws that allow employees to engage in protected concerted activity — their right to act on and discuss ways to improve work conditions and pay. Examples of protected concerted activity include:
- starting a petition to ask for better hours.
- discussing wages, benefits, and other work conditions with co-workers.
- gathering co-workers to talk to your employer, government agencies, or even the media about safety issues you face at work.
- participating in a concerted refusal to work in unsafe work conditions.
Rights to protected concerted activity were written into the original 1935 National Labor Relations Act and have been upheld ever since by even the U.S. Supreme Court. Employers cannot retaliate against employees who exercise this right. This includes any form of discipline, discharge, or threats. Many times, protected concerted activity is covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
Logan was a revered leader and persistent in defending the rights and safety of his team. By refusing to put himself in harm’s way with absolutely no prior training on the situation at hand, Logan engaged in protected concerted activity. His termination directly following these events is a textbook case of retaliation by CDOA.
Employer Responsibilities in Collective Bargaining Agreements
Collective bargaining agreements (CBA) are negotiated between a union and management, providing clear requirements for employee benefits and work conditions. The collective bargaining agreement covering Logan’s position as a security sergeant clearly spelled out health and safety provisions, stating: “The Employer shall continue its efforts to provide for a safe work environment for its employees, as required by federal and state laws.”
The CDOA’s complete disregard for Logan’s lack of training in explosives and his non-law enforcement status could have put him in great danger and he, as would anyone else, feared for his safety. The city wants to try and chalk it up to insubordination. But, the team at Disparti Law Group is not going to allow this level of disrespect for employee rights and safety to go unanswered.
OSHA Protections From Unhealthful and Unsafe Work Conditions
Being placed in a dangerous situation as in the case of Sergeant Logan is not the only type of unsafe work. Other conditions include:
- operating machines that are not safe
- exposure to toxic chemicals and other health hazards
- faulty or missing safety equipment
- no proper workplace safety and health training
Fortunately, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for overseeing workplace conditions as well as processing employee complaints, and carrying out safety inspections. Employees who want to speak up about hazards at work have the option of filing a safety and health complaint with OSHA. The OSHA website states that:
It is illegal for an employer to fire, demote, transfer, or otherwise retaliate against a worker who complains to OSHA and uses their legal rights.
Employees can also report any retaliation by filing a whistleblower complaint within 30 days of the retaliation. If you work a job that presents health or safety risks, it’s important to know your rights, when to speak up, and how to fight for better conditions not only for yourself but for your coworkers as well. If you’ve lost work or wages due to the safety risks you’re facing at work, it may be time to contact an attorney who can help make
Contact an Employment Lawyer For Wrongful Termination or Retaliation
Employment lawyer Cass Casper and his team have been working tirelessly to defend Logan’s rights during an ongoing battle with the city. This is just one of many battles we’re fighting to protect the rights of our client and others like him.
If you were wrongfully terminated or suffered workplace retaliation because you spoke out about the health and safety conditions at your workplace, consider contacting an employment lawyer as soon as possible. These things often move quickly, and you have just a short amount of time following the incident to exercise your legal options. An attorney can help you receive compensation for any loss you may have suffered including back pay, benefits, seniority, and other benefits of employment.
At Disparti Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers, we are in the business of leveling the playing field with employers who try to take advantage of their hardworking and, in Logan’s case, loyal employees. For a FREE consultation, contact us today. Call (312) 600-6000 and find out why so many say… Larry wins.