California employers are required by federal and state law to ensure a safe working environment for their employees. If an employee believes that there are hazards or unsafe working conditions in the workplace, he or she has a right to notify the employer about it and/or report the dangerous working condition to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
But does an employee has a right to refuse to work when he or she believes that there are dangerous or unsafe working conditions in the workplace? “In the vast majority of situations, yes,” says our Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney at JML Law, “But it depends on the facts of your particular case.
To give you an in-depth answer, let’s review the guidelines and safety standards established by OSHA for dealing with unsafe working conditions.
Under the OSHA, employers in Los Angeles and all across California are legally required to ensure a workplace that is free of any hazards and dangerous conditions that can cause injury, illness, or death. These safety standards apply to employees, while independent contractors are generally not protected under OSHA.
Our employment law attorney in Los Angeles explains that you may be able to report hazardous working conditions if any of the following is true:
If you feel that certain working conditions or hazards in the workplace may pose an imminent danger to your health, safety, or life, report the dangerous condition to your employer or go straight to the OSHA.
But before you do so, consult with an experienced employment law attorney in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California, as reporting unsafe working conditions to the OSHA requires employees to be in compliance with the agency’s guidelines.
“But when does an employee have a right to refuse to work?” you may be wondering. You are legally permitted to refuse to work if any of the following is true:
If you choose to refuse to work, you can refuse to return to work until after the unsafe working condition or hazard in the workplace is eliminated or the investigation concluded that the danger is non-existent.
Typically, when a safety hazard in the workplace does not pose an imminent danger, a worker is advised to inform the employer of the hazard in writing and wait for the employer to eliminate the problem. If the employer fails to eliminate the hazardous condition in a timely manner, you can file a complaint with the OSHA.
Before making any decisions, consult with our attorneys at JML Law to discuss the legality and reasonableness of refusing to work because of unsafe working conditions or hazards in the workplace. Schedule a free consultation with our lawyers by calling 818-610-8800.