(FiveNation.com)- According to a Department of Labor inquiry, American Airlines penalized staff members for raising health issues and discouraged them from reporting illnesses related to their jobs.
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) federal investigators found that the largest airline in the country “retaliated” against flight attendants who reported being ill from poisonous gases. The government agency has ordered American Airlines to pay $6,837 in fines for breaking the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.
Whistleblower complaints prompted it to launch an inquiry on August 2, according to a statement released by OSHA on Wednesday. Newsweek was informed by a spokeswoman for the Department of Labor that “all flight attendants/crews were subject to these policies, which resulted in the filing of many complaints of retaliation with OSHA.”
The airline allegedly deducted attendance points from flight attendants who complained about their sickness and dissuaded them from filing workplace injury and illness reports.
According to Timothy Minor, OSHA Area Director in Fort Worth, Texas, where the airline is situated, their inquiry determined that the flight attendants engaged in protected actions when they reported illnesses connected to jet fuel vapors seeping into the aircraft cabin.
Minor said in a letter to the airline that American Airlines “discriminated against employees” for disclosing work-related illness or injury at least once last summer.
The OSHA director also revealed that individuals have assessed one or two attendance points three times in July and August 2022 for reporting an illness “that originated from a workplace fume event.” Attendance points are used to discipline employees for tardiness or absence.
Minor instructed American Airlines to provide proof of “necessary corrective action,” which might include the outcomes of air sampling tests, after stating that the violations were ones “you do not argue.”
The air carrier has 15 working days to comply with the OSHA directives, request a meeting with Minor, or fight the findings. According to the Department of Labor, the air carrier employs approximately 109,000 people, of which 24,000 are flight attendants.
According to a spokesperson for the Department of Labor, OSHA and American Airlines previously resolved several complaints regarding reporting work-related injuries or illnesses. American Airlines agreed to fix the issue to prevent future retaliation for reporting such injuries or illnesses.
The agency claimed that “the practices were not altered” and “new incidents of retaliation for reporting work-related injuries/illnesses” were cited.