Workers sue BP oil cleanup companies for OSHA fraud, wrongful termination

David Yates Dec. 7, 2010, 6:37am


Claiming they were fired for refusing to disobey guidelines set by the Occupational Safety and Health Association, three workers are suing three companies involved with the BP gulf oil cleanup.

Plaintiffs Steve Clayton, Roger Dowers and Dewey Woods filed suit against USA Environment, Trim Safety Solutions and MC-O Construction on Dec. 2 in Jefferson County District Court.

According to the suit, USA Environment contracted with MC-O to work on the Gulf Coast clean up of oil from the April explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig. In order to assist in the cleanup, OSHA requires companies to complete its Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response program.

"MC-O did not want to spend the money or waste the time to have its employees trained and certified," the suit alleges. "Wyman Ogden, owner of MC-O, obtained false certificates of completion for his employees from Allen Trim ... owner of Trim Safety."

In their suit, plaintiffs Clayton and Dowers say they "refused to misrepresent that they were certified and demanded to take the course and follow OSHA guidelines," but MC-O insisted it "would not pay for their time to sit in the course."

"Plaintiffs were at-will employees who refused to commit an illegal act," the suit states. "Both plaintiffs were terminated because of the refusal. After they departed, MC-O sent employees to clean up the oil spill with false certificates."

The terminated employees are suing for exemplary damages and seek to recover back and future pay.

The suit accuses the defendants of conspiring to commit unlawful acts.

The plaintiffs are represented by attorney Anthony Malley III of the Beaumont law firm Moore Landrey.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. E188-910

More News