Earlier this month, CMM Realty Inc., a real estate management company headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina, entered a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to settle allegations that it violated the Clean Air Act’s whistleblower provision when it terminated a maintenance worker who raised safety and environmental concerns regarding asbestos at the work site.
On May 13, 2009, the employee reported asbestos exposure at CMM Realty’s Briargate Condominiums in Columbia to the South Carolina OSHA Program and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Conservation. The same day after he made this report, CMM Realty told the employee that his services were no longer needed and five days later sent official notification of his termination.
As part of the settlement, CMM will pay the former employee $45,000, provide him with neutral references for prospective employers and will expunge all disciplinary actions from his personnel record. OSHA also permanently prohibited CMM from violating the whistleblower provision of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and ordered the employer to post an OSHA fact sheet regarding whistleblower protection in English and Spanish at the company’s facility.
Cindy A. Coe, OSHA’s regional administrator in Atlanta, Georgia, said:
“OSHA is committed to security workers’ rights of protection from retaliation upon reporting workplace safety and/or environmental concerns.”
The Employment Law Group® law firm has an extensive nationwide whistleblower practice representing employees who have been victims of retaliation.