E-cigarettes are at the heart of a recent whistleblower retaliation case, but this time, the devices’ effects on environmental health rather than human health was at issue.

OSHA has ordered Mr. Good Vape LLC of Chino, California, to reinstate a former manager and pay him $110,000 in compensation after he was fired for claiming the company’s production of flavored liquids for e-cigarette vapor inhalers violated federal environmental law.

“No one should lose his job for raising reasonable concerns about potential threats in the workplace"

On May 6, 2015, after learning that the manager reported his concerns to the California Department of Environmental Protection, the company suspended him, then terminated him two days later. An OSHA investigation concluded that the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA) protected the former manager’s whistleblower activities, and that these activities were motivating factors in his suspension and termination.

In addition to reinstatement and compensation, OSHA ordered the employer to clear the former manager’s personnel file of any reference to the matter; and post a notice informing all employees of their whistleblower protections under TSCA and the SWDA.  

“No one should lose his job for raising reasonable concerns about potential threats in the workplace,” said Barbara Goto, OSHA Regional Administrator.

Mr. Good Vape LLC may appeal the order to the Department of Labor’s Office of Administrative Law Judges.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the TSCA, SWDA, and 20 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of airline, commercial motor vehicle, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, and securities laws. More information is available at www.whistleblowers.gov.