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OSHA accuses Kwick Stop of retaliation against whistle-blower

Modern Oil Co., which operates about 30 Kwick Stop Convenience Stores in the Shawnee area, has been accused by the U.S. Department of Labor of illegally firing an employee who complained about workplace safety issues last year.
BY JAY F. MARKS Published: August 18, 2010

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has accused a Shawnee company of illegally firing an employee who complained about a workplace safety issue in 2009.

Modern Oil Co., which does business as Kwick Stop Convenience Stores, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Stacked boxes

One of the company's employees complained to OSHA in July 2009 that workers were exposed to safety hazards at the Shawnee convenience store where she worked by beverage boxes that were stacked too high, according to a lawsuit filed July 15 in federal court in Oklahoma City.

She previously had complained to the store manager.

The employee, Monica Williams, was fired on Aug. 22, 2009, after the store manager figured out she was the one who had contacted OSHA, the lawsuit states.

"Employees should be free to exercise their rights under the law without fear of termination or retaliation by their employers," said William A. Burke, OSHA's acting regional administrator in Dallas. "This lawsuit underscores the Labor Department's commitment to vigorously take action to protect those rights."

Reinstatement sought

The Labor Department is seeking reinstatement, back pay and damages on Williams' behalf.

Modern Oil operates about 30 convenience stores in the Shawnee area, according to the Labor Department. The company has about 300 employees.


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