American Airlines retaliated against employees who reported toxic fumes on planes: OSHA

American Airlines passenger jets prepare for departure, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, near a terminal at Boston Logan International Airport, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

American Airlines retaliated against employees who reported that toxic fumes in plane cabins were making workers sick, according to a whistleblower investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The OSHA probe, which kicked off in August, found that the air travel giant docked attendance points from employees who complained about the fumes and discouraged them from coming forward, the department said in a Wednesday release.  

“Our investigation found that the flight attendants engaged in protected activities when they reported illnesses related to jet fuel fumes seeping into the aircraft cabin. Workers must feel empowered to inform managers and others about potential hazards that jeopardize workers’ safety and health,” said the OSHA area director in Fort Worth, Texas, Timothy Minor. 

Based in Fort Worth, American Airlines Inc. employs more than 100,000 employees in its domestic and international operations, according to the agency.  

When employers don’t obey federal law and reprimand workers who raise concerns about their workplace health and safety, Minor said, “they create a chilling effect that may stop workers from reporting future issues, putting their health and well-being, and that of co-workers, at risk.” 

The Department of Labor cited American Airlines for violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and proposed a $6,837.00 penalty. 

A company spokesperson told Fortune that they “respectfully disagree” with the OSHA findings. The Hill has reached out to American Airlines for more.

Tags american airlines Department of Labor OSHA

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