Do You Have a Right to Refuse Work Due to Imminent Danger?

September 14, 2018 Admin Employment Law

Many workers deal with a daily element of danger on the job, and employers have a right to tell you what work needs to be completed and when. For example, construction workers are required to complete dangerous jobs on a day-to-day basis. However, your employer has no right to ask you to do a job that poses an imminent danger of death or serious injury. If they don’t remedy the problem, it’s time to hire an employment law attorney in Los Angeles.

Depending on the situation, you generally have a right to refuse to complete a specific task or to continue working according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA says you’re right to refuse is protected if you’ve met all the following conditions:

  • You’ve asked your employer to eliminate the danger, and they have refused or failed to do so properly.
  • You genuinely believe that an imminent danger exists and have refused to work in “good faith.”
  • Any reasonable person would agree with you that the job could cause death or serious injury.
  • The hazard is urgent, leaving you no time to correct it through normal enforcement channels, like requesting an OSHA inspection.

However, what you think of as imminent danger and what your employer considers imminent danger can be very different things. As an employment law attorney in Los Angeles, we advise you to be sure you handle the issue clearly and carefully by following these four rules:

  • Consider the threat. Is it really severe enough to cause you serious injuries or death if you continue working? If you believe it is, take pictures of the danger just in case your employer tries to dispute the issue’s severity later.
  • Immediately report the situation to your supervisor, manager, or employer and ask for the matter to be resolved before you continue.
  • Explain to your boss that you will not do the job until the situation is corrected.
  • Request to be assigned to other work until the danger is resolved.

Remember that you do have a right to call the Occupational Safety and Health Administration at any point in the process to file a complaint, especially if your employer doesn’t deal with the problem appropriately. However, you don’t have the right to leave the job site at will, unless the whole site is somehow putting your life at risk. Even if your employer refuses to give you another job to work on, you must stay on site for the time being. The only way to leave early is if your employer tells you to go home.

Even though the law prohibits employers to fire you in retaliation for refusing to work in an imminently dangerous situation, some get bent out of shape when an employee asserts his or her rights. Therefore, you should always handle your end of the situation respectfully and cautiously and be prepared just in case the problem moves to the courtroom.

If your employer fires you shortly after your complaint of imminent danger. Rager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers can help. Our top employment law attorney in Los Angeles will help you fight for compensation for lost wages and other employment income, so you can support yourself and your family while continuing to look for new employment. Call us at 310-527-6994 for a free consultation today!

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