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I was fired wrongfully and witnessed a pesticide going into a drinking product, what can I do?

Loomis, CA |

Hi I was fired from my job for saying something messing around and the person i said it too went on to make up a story that wasn't true and I was let go because of it. I told her the chemical was bad. She went on to make up a story saying I told her not to add it and that I never added it myself which is untrue. I had no idea what the chemical was until I checked the databses. Is there anything I can do about it? I asked for any evidence of any wrongdoing and they said they had none but my verbal confession from another person which I never said. I also have witnessed them putting copper sulphate which is listed as a pesticide by every chemical database and the U.N. database in their products.

Upon oral exposure, copper sulfate is only moderately toxic. According to studies, the lowest dose of copper sulfate that had a toxic impact on humans is 11 mg/kg. Because of its irritating effect on the gastrointestinal tract, vomiting is automatically triggered in case of the ingestion of copper sulfate. However, if copper sulfate is retained in the stomach, the symptoms can be severe. After 1–12 grams of copper sulfate are swallowed, such poisoning signs may occur as a metallic taste in the mouth, burning pain in the chest, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, discontinued urination, which leads to yellowing of the skin. In cases of copper sulfate poisoning, injury to the brain, stomach, liver, or kidneys may also occur.

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

If you were terminated because you complained about the use of illegal pesticides in products, you may have a claim. However, if you were let go solely because of a dispute with another, whether true or not, would unlikely provide you with grounds for a claim.

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Posted

If you worked for a private company and were not in a union, you almost certainly were an "at-will" employee, in the eyes of the law. At-will employees can be terminated by employers at any time for any reason, even unfair or unfounded reasons. But they cannot be fired for a reason specifically prohibited by statute, most often involving discrimination due to race, gender, age, etc. It is also unlawful to fire an employee for being a whistleblower. So, if you have complained to an agency like Cal OSHA about the company using unsafe chemicals and were fired for it, that is illegal.

It is not clear from your post what the employer's use of copper sulphate has to do with your termination. But if you were fired because another employee complained about you, even if unfounded, that are no grounds for a wrongful termination case.

They say you get what you pay for, and this response is free, so take it for what it is worth. This is my opinion based on very limited information. My opinion should not be taken as legal advice. For true advice, we would require a confidential consultation where I would ask you questions and get your complete story. This is a public forum, so remember, nothing here is confidential. Nor am I your attorney. I do not know who you are and you have not hired me to provide any legal service. To do so would require us to meet and sign written retainer agreement. My responses are intended for general information only.

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Asker

Posted

Very helpful. I was let go because I told someone I do not put copper sulphate into the drinks which is listed as a pesticide and poisonous to humans and animals. I did ask them several times why it was in the drinks and never got a conclusive answer. I did not however complain to any agency before I was fired. A coworker was also let go also for not putting it in the drinks.

Michael Robert Kirschbaum

Michael Robert Kirschbaum

Posted

If you can show that the motivating reason for your termination was because you refused to commit an illegal act, case law supports claims like this, which is known as a violation of public policy. You should discuss this with experienced employment law attorneys in your area. Try using the "Find a Lawyer" function on these pages to search for employment law attorneys near you.

Posted

In California, an employer is prohibited from retaliating (in the form of termination or demotion) against an employee for reporting or refusing to take part in that employer's illegal activity. You say that you witnessed your employer putting pesticides in the product but do not say whether or not you reported such illegal activity to an outside agency or even your employer for that matter. From the facts, it looks like you were terminated for allegedly saying something inappropriate at work and not because you spoke up about the copper sulfate. More facts are needed here to determine if this was a retaliatory wrongful termination.

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Posted

I was terminated for not putting copper sulphate in the drinks. Another employee said I was not putting it in and told my boss. Before I was fired I brought it up a few times that we shouldnt put it in there and that is was poisonous and nothing was done about it. Unfortunately I found out the FDA does approve copper sulphate for use in food products. So I am assuming it is not an illegal substance.

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