Barge worker claims he was fired for reporting drug activity

Steve Gonzalez Aug. 8, 2005, 9:10am

Dave Robinson of Oshkosh, Wisc. is suing his former employer claiming he was fired for reporting illegal drug use at Alter Barge Line.

In a suit filed Aug. 3 in Madison County Circuit Court, Robinson claims that prior to his dismissal Oct. 26, 2004, he told the barge operator's port captain in East Alton that illegal drug use was taking place on board the Bernard G vessel where he worked.

The last time Robinson complained about the drug activity was in September 2004, at which time he suggested workers be tested. He also told the port captain that public safety and his own were at risk.

When Robinson was fired, he claims the port captain told him, “You will not work for us; you won’t do any work for us.”

“The strong public policy of the State of Illinois prohibits the termination of an employee’s employment as a result of the employee reporting criminal behavior and unsafe conditions,” the complaint states.

Robinson claims as a result of his termination, he suffered and will continue to suffer lost wages, loss of benefits, emotional distress, humiliation, embarrassment and pain and suffering.

Robinson is seeking compensatory damages in excess of $50,000. He is represented by Lee Barron of Alton.

“Punitive damages are necessary and warranted as a result of Alter’s illegal and retaliatory termination of Robinson’s employment and Alter’s willful violation of the Illinois Whistle Blower Act.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron.

05 L 698

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