Did you know our own attorney Ryan Hobbs was featured in the Tallahassee Democrat again last week? The article, Former Taylor County Plant Worker Warned of Explosion Risk, written by Karl Etters of the Tallahassee Democrat.
The article shares:
“A former employee of a Taylor County less-than-lethal weapons manufacturing plant warned higher-ups that an explosion, like the one that killed two workers in September, was imminent.
In a complaint filed with the Florida Commission on Human Relations, the former employee, Jackie Hendry, claims she was terminated in retaliation for objecting to repeated sexual harassment by her supervisor at AMTEC Less-Lethal Inc.
Christina L. Patterson of Perry was killed in an explosion at the plant just outside the Perry city limits on Sept. 14. A second person, Thomas Fowler Jr., was critically injured and later died.
According to the filing submitted Oct. 16, Hendry told AMTEC’s president Barry Hafer about the sexual advances and advised that the building was unsafe.
Hendry said her supervisor, Vernon Wakefield, the plant’s quality control manager and head of safety, started the harassment by asking if she would have sex with a black man. She asked him to stop but she said Wakefield created a “sexually charged work environment” that led to her being ostracized among other employees.
She was fired Aug. 10, the same day Wakefield was promoted to director of operations.
A call for comment to AMTEC has not yet been returned.
Hendry reported that another employee, a manager named only as Ms. Parton, was not using antistatic scoops used to insert explosive flash powder into devices manufactured by the company.
In a July meeting with Hafer, she also reported that the manager was storing too many pounds of flash powder inside the building, beyond what is allowed by regulation, and was placing grenades on trash bags that were not antistatic and slamming them against a table to see if powder would leak.
“AMTEC’s response to Ms. Hendry’s complaints was to terminate her employment and do nothing to correct its unsafe work environment,” wrote her Tallahassee attorney Ryan Hobbs in a statement. “Unfortunately, AMTEC’s failure to provide a safe working environment resulted in an explosion at its facility that killed one of its employees and critically injured another employee. Neither the law nor society should tolerate AMTEC’s unlawful behavior.”
AMTEC is a subsidiary of the National Defense Corporation, which provides equipment for law enforcement, corrections and military industries. According to its website, the company makes tactical gear and other equipment and devices, like stun grenades and aerosols that can be used for crowd control and dispersal, distraction and diversion. About 50 people work at the plant.”