Whistleblower Vindicated After Reporting Hazards to OSHA

An employee who was illegally fired for reporting a hazardous workplace condition receives $15,000 in back pay from his terminating employer.

An employee of a residential treatment facility for the mentally challenged in New Paltz, N.Y., who alleged he was illegally fired for reporting a hazardous workplace condition has been vindicated by OSHA.

He will have all references to being fired removed from his personnel files and receive $15,000 in back pay.

According to Patricia K. Clark, regional administrator for OSHA, the employee worked as a resident manager at Gateway Community Manor in New Paltz, a not-for-profit agency devoted to the training and development of mentally and physically challenged adults.

He was terminated from his position in April 1998, after he expressed concerns for himself and other staff members regarding exposure to bloodborne pathogens in connection with conducting a blood test on one of the residents.

In a judgment entered by the U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York, the defendant denied it violated any provisions of the OSH Act but agreed to pay $15,000 in back wages to the employee.

The court order also requires the defendant to not discharge or otherwise discriminate against any employee for filing a complaint under the OSH Act.

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