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9 employees say they were fired for workers' compensation claims

They were told that their work sifting through sand looking for lead bullets was perfectly safe. When they became ill with lead poisoning and filed for workers' compensation, they were fired. That is what nine former employees of a gun range are saying in a wrongful termination lawsuit against their former employer.

The plaintiffs were all employees of an indoor gun range that was beginning a remodeling project in September 2012. To carry out the remodeling, tons of sand and soil needed to have all the led bullets buried there over the years to be removed. But instead of hiring professionals with the experience and equipment to do the job safely, the range's owner had his own workers do it, the lawsuit says.

The owner did not provide them with safety equipment or training. When the workers asked whether handling lead bullets with their bare hands might be unsafe, the owner told them that government agencies such as OSHA and the EPA had approved his plan. Still, he had the plaintiffs work mostly at night to avoid suspicion, the plaintiffs say.

Less than two months later, the employees were developing symptoms of lead poisoning. They were each diagnosed with the illness, which can cause serious symptoms and is potentially fatal. When they learned what had happened to them, the sickened workers filed for workers' compensation and made complaints to government agencies. Shortly afterward, the gun range owner fired all of them.

The workers say the firings were revenge for altering authorities about the bullet collection and their seeking workers' compensation.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Fired for Getting Lead Poisoning, Nine Say," June Williams, Feb. 14, 2013

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Our Philadelphia firm and attorneys have received numerous accolades in the area of workers' compensation law. Several of our attorneys have been recognized by their peers and listed in Super Lawyers since 2006. The Super Lawyers process recognizes the top lawyers in their fields in Pennsylvania.

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