Can my boss fire me or take another adverse action against me for complaining about an unsafe workplace?

No- this kind of retaliation is prohibited by a few laws.  The federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) enforces more than 20 federal laws to prevent retaliation against employees who complain that the Occupational Safety and Health Act is being violated at their workplaces.  There are separate laws for employees in the aviation industry, drivers, food safety workers, etc.  One important fact: there is a 30 day statute of limitations to complain to OSHA that you have suffered retaliation, so it is crucial that you file a complaint with OSHA immediately!

There are also Connecticut laws that prevent this type of retaliation.  You could potentially have a claim that you were terminated in violation of a public policy of the state of Connecticut (if the complaint is not covered by OSHA or another statute); or that your rights to speak out under the U.S. and Connecticut Constitutions were comprised (as long as the complaint isn’t within the scope of your job duties).

This is a complicated area of the law, but there are many laws protecting employees who bring workplace safety violations to light.  If you have questions about this type of retaliation, contact the Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore.
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