Scroll down to a July 23, 2010 entry and you will see a blog post by Michael Fox, the employer’s lawyer, about a whistle blower case in Maine. See post. A supervisor complained about several unsafe situations regarding the men he supervised. They worked in a warehouse with wooden pallets. The supervisor eventually lost his job after his complaints. The whistle blower complained about a lack of ventilation, and about the change from leather gloves to cotton gloves. Leather gloves are more resistant to splinters, as any backyard gardener knows. The employees who spent their days repairing pallets were getting many more splinters than they had before the switch.
A Maine jury agreed with the employee and awarded $1.15 million in damages. No doubt, the employer now sees the value in leather gloves, after all.
Fifty years ago, these leather gloves would have been the subject of a union grievance. With the decrease of union membership, there are more whistle blower actions than ever. Texas does not have an equivalent to the Maine whistle blower statute. We do not even have a private sector employment whistle blower statute. But, I bet we have some employers who switch from leather work gloves to cotton gloves.