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McDonalds settles with worker fired for reporting gas leak

Rochester Business Journal
June 18, 2014

An area McDonald’s Corp. franchisee has agreed to give a former employee $10,000 to make up for firing the part-timer for reporting a gas leak.

The incident that sparked the worker’s firing occurred in April 2013 at a Lyons McDonald’s restaurant, said state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, whose office arranged a settlement between the former employee and the franchisee, Warrenone Inc.

After supervisors ignored the worker’s warnings of a possible gas leak, the employee called the Lyons Fire Department himself. Responders found a leak and closed the restaurant overnight.

While firefighters were still investigating the leak, two supervisors fired the worker for calling in the gas alert. That move ran the franchise afoul of a state labor law provision that bars employers from retaliating against employees who report health and safety issues or illegal activity.

“It's outrageous that an employee would be terminated for contacting the local authorities about a serious safety risk,” Schneiderman said. “He should be thanked, not fired.”

The fired worker was not hired back. The $10,000 settlement is approximately equal to what he would have earned over 18 months.

As part of the settlement, Warrenone, which runs four McDonald’s franchises in Monroe and Wayne counties, agreed to set up procedures for dealing with health and safety complaints.
    
(c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail service@rbj.net.
 



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