ISHN

Doctor who fired whistleblower fights employee reinstatement

November 22, 2011

whistleblowerOSHA has filed a lawsuit to force the owner of a Colorado medical clinic to rehire the employee who was fired after complaining about hazards at the facility. The action taken against the Brighton Medical Clinic in Brighton and its owner, Dr. Luithuk Zimik, come under the whistleblower provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

The employee had complained about safety and health hazards to the clinic's management staff before filing a formal complaint about the hazards with OSHA. The employee was later discharged and then filed a whistleblower complaint with OSHA alleging retaliation by the defendants in violation of Section 11(c) of the OSH Act. OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program conducted an investigation and determined the former employee's allegations had merit. After being notified of OSHA's findings, the defendants refused to reinstate the employee to the same or a substantially equivalent position and to pay back wages or other employment benefits.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, the complaint seeks to reinstate the employee, secure compensatory damages and lost back pay, and require the company to post a notice in a prominent place at the worksite for 60 days that explains employee rights under Section 11(c) of the OSH Act.

Under the whistleblower provisions of the OSH Act and 20 other statutes, employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise various protected concerns or provide protected information to the employer or to the government.