Oscar Wilde certainly seemed to be on to something when he famously said: “No good deed goes unpunished,” and it would seem that an electrician recently found out for themselves how true this statement could be.
The employee relayed a tale of how she fears she’ll be terminated for protecting the safety of her co-workers in a viral Reddit post they uploaded to the site’s r/anitwork sub.
Redditor @NarwhalVarious3941 writes that she found herself in a potential catch-22 situation at her job after coming across a potential work hazard that could’ve put the lives of her crew at risk. Initially, she was congratulated by her supervisor, but went on to say that it didn’t take long until folks in the company started to “berate” her for “slowing business down.”
I saw a man do work that could instantly kill him, so I called a ‘stop work’ order. Now my job is on the line.
by u/NarwhalVarious3941 in antiwork
The redditor soon found herself in the unenviable position of feeling as if the guillotine was hovering above her head just for doing what she believed to be the right thing. To make matters worse is that it didn’t appear as if she had any other option because if she decided to forge ahead with the job regardless of her safety concerns and just turned a blind eye, then she would’ve been held accountable for the employees getting harmed, so it was a damned if they did, damned if they didn’t situation.
@NarwhalVarious3941’s post received over 8,200 upvotes on the popular social media site, and throngs of users on the platform offered up suggestions as to how they could address the situation, with one top-rated comment recommending they reach out to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): “Call OSHA- they can’t bring doing everything by the books if they think this is okay.”
In an industrial setting, there are various levels of safety that must be adhered to in order for workers to feel comfortable completing the tasks at hand. If any hazards arise, a worker has every right to disregard the orders until the task can be completed safely. OSHA guidelines state that “federal law entitles you to a safe workplace. Your employer must keep your workplace free of known health and safety hazards. You have the right to speak up about hazards without fear of retaliation.” This applies to every tier: Even supervisors overseeing a project, should they catch such an infraction, have to report and resolve it…primarily for the safety of the workers but also for the integrity of the company. It is not unlikely however that some companies will prioritize completing a day’s labor over eliminating the hazard first, like the redditor described in their post, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics site even has a calculator for comparing hazard rates throughout various industries so there is an acknowledgment that employees are put into potentially dangerous workplace situations.
There were other users who responded to @NarwhalVarious3941’s post addressing the idea of the “long layoff.” Basically, that at some point in the future they feared they would be let go on another technicality that would be, officially speaking, unrelated to the safety precaution they brought up for that one job. Instead, their termination would more than likely be tied to a minute, bureaucratic detail or stipulation on another job as a means of getting back at them for not risking employees’ lives to get the other job done.
One redditor said that they’ve witnessed this type of “long layoff” first hand: “[She] will not be fired for using stop work authority. They’re gonna be fired for a policy violation. Sometime in the next few months, they’ll be investigated for some bull sh#t reason that has nothing to do with the actual incident.”
Another commenter echoed this assessment, writing that their father was fired in a similar manner: “Exactly they know what they’re doing. They gonna slap the hardest consequence ever for the smallest thing imaginable. My dad got canned the same way. My job is the same. They let you get away with murder but if they want you gone they’ll dig up someone minor and enforce whatever policy they have never enforced a day in their life as the excuse”
The poster on Reddit also mentioned that her situation was further complicated at work due to the fact that she was the only woman at her job, which made her reluctant to call OSHA: “I am the only woman on this team. If they found out someone reported my workplace to OSHA and I’m the only one who spoke up initially? I am already a canary in a coal mine. This is the first job I’ve had that pays me a livable wage.”
One commenter asked her to share details about her business with them and that they would report the company as an oil field company owner.
The Daily Dot has reached out to @NarwhalVarious3941 via Reddit.