Blog Author Steve Hudgik
Friday, August 22, 2008
You Can't Win
Laws, codes, rules and requirements sometimes conflict such that to obey one you most likely will break another. You can end up in a situation in which there is a potential for a lawsuit no matter what you do. Finding the middle ground can be difficult, or impossible.
Last Wednesday's Houston Chronicle has a good example. An employee of an Animal Health Clinic became pregnant. When her employer became aware of the pregnancy they took actions to protect the employee's health. The article states:
"Lisa Davila [the clinic manager] said she went through all the chemicals to identify which ones were dangerous, changed the employee's work duties to eliminate exposure to radiation or cat litter, and checked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Web site to make sure the clinic in College Station was taking the necessary precautions to keep its employee safe."
The result of Ms. Davila's actions was a lawsuit and a settlement to the employee of $15,000.
What went wrong? The manager may have violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which states that you can not treat a pregnant woman any different than anyone else... even if you are trying to protect the health of that person or the baby.
You can read the article at: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/sixel/5956708.html#none
I suggest also reading the comments at the end of the article. Hare2share has a reasonable suggestion for how this situation might have been handled better. Although I still think the door would have been open for a lawsuit or OSHA fine.
Labels: Industrial Health, safety management, safety politics, safety regulations
posted by Steve Hudgik
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