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John Deere to Settle Whistleblower Lawsuit, Pay $275,000 in Back Wages, Damages

Dec. 23, 2016
The lawsuit alleged the former pipefitter was fired from Deere's Moline, Ill., facility after reporting unsafe working conditions.

Deere & Co. will pay a former employee $275,000 under the terms of a settlement agreement that resolves a lawsuit filed in 2015 under the anti-retaliation provision of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

According to OSHA, the lawsuit alleged the former pipefitter was fired from Deere's Moline, Ill., facility in June 2012 after reporting unsafe working conditions and then filing a complaint with OSHA after the manufacturer failed to correct one of the unsafe conditions.

An OSHA investigation determined the pipefitter was dismissed, allegedly in retaliation, after reporting unsafe working conditions on three occasions. Subsequent OSHA investigations resulted in citations at the Moline facility in April 2010, January 2012 and May 2012.

The former employee will receive $204,315 in back wages and front pay, and $70,685 in other damages.

Deere did not admit liability.

"Commitment to workplace safety should be commended, not punished," said Kenneth Nishiyama Atha, Chicago-based regional administrator for OSHA, in a news release.

The agreement allows Deere to make payments in three installments, to be paid in full by Jan. 31, 2018. The company also agreed to post OSHA's Job Safety and Health: It's the Law poster and OSHA Fact Sheet: Your Rights as a Whistleblower in a conspicuous place at all of its facilities.

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