Lead exposure concerns at bronze foundry gets whistleblower fired
OSHA orders reinstatement
An employee who was terminated two days after filing a health complaint with OSHA is the subject of a lawsuit that seeks to have him reinstated and paid back wages.
The U.S. Department of Labor has sued American Bronze Foundry Inc., as well as owner Charles Wambold, co-owner Renee Wambold and manager Jennifer Schiffermiller, for allegedly firing the employee for raising health concerns about potential lead overexposures at the foundry's principal place of business in Sanford. An investigation by OSHA determined that the company violated the whistleblower provisions of Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
In addition to back wages, the suit is also seeking interest, and compensatory and punitive damages. Additionally, the suit requests that the employee's personnel records be expunged with respect to the matters at issue in this case, the employer be barred against future violations of the OSH Act by a permanent injunction and the court grant any other appropriate relief.
The employee allegedly reported concerns to management about the lead content of the bronze used by American Bronze. Dissatisfied with management's response, the employee proceeded to file a health complaint with OSHA on April 5, 2010. The next day, OSHA notified American Bronze of the complaint and the alleged hazard. Upon entering the workplace on April 7, 2010, the employee was terminated. He then filed a timely whistleblower complaint with OSHA.
American Bronze Foundry is a privately owned bronze fine art foundry.