The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a consent judgment ordering The John Galt Corp. and two of its former managers, Mitchel Alvo and Dorota Lebkowska, to compensate a worker who was fired for raising a health and safety issue during an asbestos removal project the defendants oversaw at the former Deutsche Bank Building at 130 Liberty St. in Manhattan.
The worker filed a complaint with the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration in August 2006, alleging that he had been fired after requesting additional respirator cartridges for himself and for fellow workers performing asbestos removal at the site. OSHA's investigation found merit to the complaint. The department's Regional Office of the Solicitor in New York filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York after the defendants refused to reinstate and compensate the worker.
As a result of that legal action, the defendants have signed a consent judgment that orders them to pay the worker $55,000 in back wages and expunge all references to suspension or dismissal from his personnel file. The judgment also prohibits the defendants from discriminating against employees who file a complaint with OSHA, participate in an OSHA inspection or otherwise exercise their rights under Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
"Terminating workers who raise legitimate safety and health issues is unacceptable," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. "Intimidating workers into a dangerous silence can mask hazardous and potentially deadly conditions. Employers should be aware that we will pursue appropriate legal remedies in such cases."
Section 11(c) of the OSH Act protects employees' rights to file a complaint with OSHA or to bring safety and health issues to the attention of their employers without fear of termination or other reprisal. OSHA also enforces statutes protecting employees who report violations of various railway, securities, trucking, airline, nuclear power, pipeline, environmental, public transportation and consumer product safety laws.