You and your employer may have different ideas about what unsafe working conditions entail. While you strongly believe that an activity puts your health and well-being at risk, your employer may disagree, as they want you to do what you’re told.
As an employee, you have the right to refuse dangerous work, such as conditions that are unsafe or bad for your health.
If you come across such a condition, it’s best to discuss your concerns with your employer. It’s your hope that they feel the same way as you, taking immediate action to make things right.
If that doesn’t work, you may need to file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as they can conduct an investigation to determine if a hazardous working condition is present.
Your right to refuse to complete work is protected if the following conditions are present:
- You have requested that your employer eliminate the danger, and they have neglected to do so
- You refused to complete a task in good faith, as you believe that doing so puts your safety at risk
- A reasonable person could examine the situation and realize that there is real danger of injury or death.
- You don’t have enough time to correct the issue through another enforcement channel, such as filing an OSHA claim
If you refuse dangerous work and your employer terminates you as a result, collect evidence to back up your claim. This will put you in position to take action against your employer, such as seeking compensation for your wrongful termination.