The California Occupational Safety and Health Act (commonly known as Cal/OSHA) protects workers in California against dangerous working conditions. Many employees, however, are unaware of their rights under Cal/OSHA or how to defend themselves. If you have been let go due to refusing to do dangerous work, contact PLBSH at (800) 435-7542 for a consultation with an employment law attorney.
What is Cal/OSHA
Cal/OSHA is California’s version of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act. It offers more protection than the federal legislation in numerous areas, including chemical exposure, repetitive motion injuries, and heat diseases.
Cal/OSHA mandates that companies publish information about their responsibilities and employee safeguards, among other things. This contains information regarding employees’ rights to (1) report hazardous working circumstances; (2) request safety inspections; (3) refuse to continue or begin working in risky situations; and (4) receive information under the Hazardous Substances and Information Training Act.
In California, employees are not forced to undertake work that they feel is hazardous or harmful
If an employee has a reasonable opinion that completing the task in question will put their life in jeopardy and the employer refuses to address the safety issue, the employee has the right to refuse the job.
However, the worker can only decline to undertake the task if (1) there is insufficient time to report it to the authorities and (2) there are no acceptable alternatives for doing the work without posing a danger to his or her safety. If a worker is requested to climb scaffolding without the proper safety equipment, such as a harness, he may decline after reporting the incident to Cal/OSHA and if there is no other way to do the task safely.
Employers cannot legally retaliate against you for refusing dangerous work
If such requirements are satisfied and the employee refuses to complete the task, the employer is prohibited from retaliating against them. An employer who retaliates against an employee — by putting them on an undesirable shift, reducing their hours, terminating them, or doing other actions — may be in violation of the law, as an experienced employment retaliation attorney may explain.
The employee may be entitled to compensation as a whistleblower who disclosed the hazardous working conditions to the relevant authorities. An experienced workplace retaliation lawyer can assist the employee in protecting his or her rights and pursuing justice.
Any employee who exposes information to Cal/OSHA that he or she reasonably believes is a violation of federal or state law, or who reveals dangerous working conditions or practices at their workplace, has particular whistleblower rights. An employee who “blows the whistle” on their employer is protected under California law from being fired, retaliated against, punished, or discriminated against for submitting a complaint or refusing to work under dangerous or unhealthy conditions.
PLBSH can assist you if you have faced retribution at work for refusing to work in dangerous or unsafe circumstances. To book a free first consultation with a competent employment retaliation attorney, call PLBSH at (800) 435-7542.