Trial Set for Pfizer Scientist Who Alleged Virus Was Loose in the Lunchroom

Last Updated Jan 8, 2010 4:33 PM EST

The trial of a Pfizer (PFE) R&D worker who was laid off after complaining repeatedly about safety standards at the company's Groton, Conn., research center will begin on March 15, according to court documents. Pfizer denies the claims.

Becky McClain was a molecular biologist at Pfizer, and also a member of her department's safety committee. She claims she complained to OSHA five times about hygiene standards in her lab, and was eventually told to stop documenting safety breaches.

Among the incidents she alleges are a virus that was detected loose in a Pfizer lunchroom, a micocentrifuge tube found in the bottom of one worker's Coke, and a faulty fume hood -- that for months had been sickening workers near it -- which was dumped outside the Groton building.

McClain claims her performance reviews went down, she became sick and was terminated.

After an explosion at the plant in 2002, McClain alleges she was told by management:

Pfizer's safety budget is based on what is legal and not what is safe.
Download McClain's complaint here and Pfizer's response here. Hat tip to the California Coalition for Workers Memorial Day.