An expectant mother working for airport contractor Eulen America has filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after she was injured on the job and her bosses allegedly fired her for it.
According to the complaint, Hacheler Cyrille, 31, of Brooklyn, NY, fell onto a moving conveyor belt at Terminal 8 of JFK airport on May 8. Cyrille was trying trying to dislodge a piece of luggage that got stuck and lost her balance. She was 17 weeks pregnant at the time.
Cyrille screamed for help as the conveyor belt tossed her from side to side, but she wasn’t saved until a co-worker pressed the ‘stop’ button on the conveyor belt. She was taken to an area hospital, where she was treated for bruises and contusions all over her body.
She told the press two months later that she has been in severe pain on the right side of her body since the fall. She has seen a chiropractor, but she can’t take pain medication while she’s pregnant.
Eulen America didn’t allow Cyrille to come back to work after her injury and fired her with no explanation. The OSHA complaint she filed alleges that Eulen doesn’t provide adequate safety training and protection from workplace hazards. The case is still pending.
Cyrille has also filed a discrimination complaint with the New York’s Commission on Human Rights based on her pregnancy status.
Cyrille is receiving assistance from 32BJ Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a union that has been trying to organize Eulen employees since 2011. 32BJ SEIU maintains that this case is just another example of the many workplace violations workers are expected to put up with.
Representatives from 32BJ SEIU are calling for her Eulen to rehire Cyrille and give her back pay and compensation for physical and emotional injuries.
Eulen America is part of Grupo Eulen, which provides “airport handling” and other services to airports throughout the U.S. “Eulen America workers are the heart and soul of our operation,” CEO Xavi Rabell said in a statement. “When an employee discloses a medical condition to us that requires special accommodation, we comply with all federal, state, and local laws.”
Cyrille’s complaint alleges that she had a doctor’s note approving her need for a chair, which Eulen purportedly rejected. The company also didn’t report Cyrille’s injury to OSHA, and she hasn’t received any workers’ compensation as a result.
According to news sources, Cyrille was an employee of Eulen for three years. She is unsure if she will be allowed to return to work for company and has been forced to dip into her first child’s college fund to pay her bills. She is considering litigation against the company.
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