The U.S. Department of Labor is suing a New York demolition company for retaliatory firing. The company allegedly terminated an employee the day after he reported unsafe asbestos removal practices while working at a high school. The employee was even subjected to verbal threats for reporting the potential safety hazard.
Our Chicago mesothelioma lawyers stress that every worker in the U.S. has a right to a healthy and safe workplace. Workers have the right to inform management and concerned authorities of possible risk to their health and safety without being harassed or fired.
In this case, the employee filed a complaint based on breach of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The government opened a whistleblower investigation and discovered that the accusations were true.
Among other things, the lawsuit seeks for the worker to be re-hired by the demolition company, with complete benefits and without any severance in seniority. It also calls for lost wages, compensatory, punitive, and emotional damages.
As this whistleblower lawsuit shows, employees who believe that they have been retaliated against for protecting the public have important rights. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration has a whistleblower protection program that aims to protect these rights and investigate suspicious behavior by employers.
An article in The Roanoke Times is reporting on another serious asbestos violation. The head of a Virginia company tasked with removing asbestos from a building was charged with violating federal law.
The 52-year-old was indicted on five counts, including unlawfully handling, transporting and removing with asbestos, infringement of the Clean Air Act, and lying to federal investigators.
The charges stem from an incident about five years ago, when the accused
took abestos-covered window frames out of a garbage can, put them in unlabeled
vehicles, and told other people to take them to a recycling center for
cash. These are clear violations of federal regulations that require safe
handling of toxic asbestos materials.
It is unknown exactly how much asbestos materials were taken, but it is estimated to be worth about $17,000. If convicted, the accused faces up to five years in prison and a hefty fine for each count of the indictment.
Exposure to asbestos can cause an incurable kind of cancer called malignant mesothelioma. If you suspect the presence of asbestos in your workplace, don’t hesitate to report it. If you or someone close to you suffered asbestos exposure, you may be at risk for a deadly asbestos-related disease. You should seek the help of an asbestos lawyer immediately.