American Airlines retaliated against workers who reported illness from fumes: OSHA

American Airlines OSHA
FILE – American Airlines planes sit stored at Pittsburgh International Airport on March 31, 2020, in Imperial, Pa. Federal officials said Wednesday Jan. 4, 2023, that American Airlines retaliated against flight attendants who complained about jet fuel fumes seeping into airplane cabins. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File) Gene J. Puskar/AP

American Airlines retaliated against workers who reported illness from fumes: OSHA

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The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing a $6,837 fine against American Airlines after an investigation found the company retaliated against employees who reported getting ill from fumes on the airline’s planes.

Flight attendants would be “discouraged” from reporting the illnesses as work-related and would have points docked on their attendance record, OSHA said.

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“Federal law protects workers’ rights to voice workplace safety and health concerns without the fear of retaliation,” Timothy Minor, OSHA area director for Fort Worth, Texas, said in a statement.

“When employers punish employees for doing so, 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,” he added.

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents nearly 25,000 flight attendants for the airline, applauded OSHA for the proposed penalty.

“The fact that American Airlines is assigning points that can lead to termination for lingering effects of toxic fume inhalation and other work-related injuries is unacceptable. We are encouraged that OSHA has agreed with APFA and affected Flight Attendants,” the association said in a statement.

The Washington Examiner has reached out to American Airlines for comment.

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The findings from OSHA come as the airline industry has seen a rough few weeks coming out of the busy holiday travel season. At Montgomery Regional Airport in Alabama on Saturday, a ground crew worker was killed when he was reportedly sucked into the engine of an American Airlines plane.

The industry also faced mass cancellations amid severe weather across the country near the Christmas holiday. Southwest Airlines faced prolonged problems compared to its competitors, leading to multiple investigations — including from the Senate.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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