The Illinois Trial Lawyers Association just pointed out that a little-noticed provision in the food safety law signed by President Barack Obama protects food industry workers who become whistle-blowers against retaliation from their employers. The food safety overhaul came on the heels of numerous product recalls of unsafe foods, including salmonella in eggs and peanuts and E. coli in spinach and other leafy greens. One provision in the law protects workers at food companies regulated by the FDA from being demoted, fired, or denied promotions or raises if they “whistle-blow”/speak up about what they think are violations at the company. The FDA regulates most foods, except for meat and poultry products, food additives, infant formulas, dietary supplements, human drugs, vaccines, medical devices, electronic products, cosmetics, feed, drugs, and tobacco products. The new law protects workers if they reasonable believe an action violates the food safety act and for objecting to performing work that they reasonably believe is illegal. The Department of Labor and federal courts can reinstate fired employees and award back pay, interest, attorneys’ fees and other damage. The law only covers food businesses regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Workers who are regulated by the US Department of Agriculture, such as those in the meatpacking industries, are not protected by this provision.
Our Chicago injury lawyers represent plaintiffs in the Chicago or greater Illinois area in food safety and product liability lawsuits against manufacturers or corporations who sold or manufactured unsafe products to consumers. “Products” include a wide range of categories, including food.
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