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Workers experiencing unsafe conditions walk out

We often write about how employers influence the safe or unsafe working conditions that their employees are subjected to. Failure on the part of employers to adhere to safety regulations, federal law and New York-specific worker safety laws can lead to the occurrence of common work-related injuries which could have otherwise been easily prevented.

However, employees are not powerless. Though there may be risk involved in exercising your rights, if your working conditions are unsafe, the law does protect you should you decide to act as a whistleblower. In some circumstances, the law even protects those workers who walk out on the job in protest of unsafe working conditions.

In one recent display, approximately 30 warehouse workers in Southern California went on strike to protest conditions in the warehouse. Allegedly, freight containers in the warehouse heat to dangerous levels in the summer, the workers had no access to clean water and had no access to safe working equipment. Fearing for their safety, the workers simply walked out.

The workers were not unionized, so they had less protection from losing their jobs than other employees might have had. However, the press that their story gained helped to reinforce their commitment and their bottom line.

It may not always be easy to stand up for your right to a safe working environment. But given that the law mandates that your work environment adhere to the federal and state safety codes and regulations, it may sometimes be worth the risk to stand up and let the law have your back.

Source: Huffington Post, "Warehouse Workers Strike In California, Claiming Unsafe Conditions," Dave Jamieson, Sep. 13, 2012

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