SE Texas Record

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR: Department of Labor Orders Kinder Morgan to Pay Back Pay, Damages and Fees for Retaliation Against Whistleblower

By Press release submission | Sep 2, 2019

Law money 12

U.S. Department of Labor issued the following announcement on Aug. 27.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has ordered Kinder Morgan Inc. – an energy infrastructure company based in Houston, Texas - to pay a former employee back wages, damages, and attorney's fees after an investigation found that the company violated the whistleblower provisions of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act (PSIA).

The employee informed a contractor of Kinder Morgan's attempt to avoid complying with the PSIA's spill reporting requirements. Kinder Morgan later insisted that the employee retract the statement. When the employee refused, the company terminated the employee on January 3, 2018.

OSHA determined that the employee's actions were protected activity and the discharge violated the employee's whistleblower protections. OSHA ordered Kinder Morgan to pay $113,040 in back pay, $30,000 in compensatory damages and $20,552 in attorney's fees. OSHA also ordered the company to expunge the complainant's employment record of any reference to exercising whistleblower rights under PSIA; not retaliate or discriminate against the complainant; pay interest on the back pay; and post a notice of OSHA's finding in a conspicuous place in or about its facility. Kinder Morgan or the former employee may appeal the order to the Department's Office of Administrative Law Judges.

"This order recognizes the vital importance of pipeline safety and that federal law protects whistleblowers who engage in protected activity," said OSHA Dallas acting Regional Administrator Eric S. Harbin.

Original source can be found here.

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U.S. Department of Labor