OSHA sues Midlands realtor for firing whistleblower - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

OSHA sues Midlands realtor for firing whistleblower

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has sued a Columbia realty company for allegedly firing a whistleblower.

According to the OSHA complaint, CMM Realty Inc. fired an employee who voiced and reported workplace and environmental concerns regarding asbestos at one of the company's worksites. OSHA asked the court to reinstate the unnamed employee to his former position, award him back pay, interest and compensatory damages, and prohibit the defendant from future violations.

In May 2009, the employee voiced concerns to the owner of CMM Realty about asbestos exposure at the company's Briargate Condominiums on Menlo Drive, according to OSHA. The next day, he filed complaints with DHEC and the state occupational safety agency, which conducted inspections and issued citations against CMM Realty for violating asbestos control standards.

On the same day, OSHA says the employee was told his services were no longer needed.  Five days later, he was officially fired from the company.

In June 2009, the employee filed a whistleblower complaint with OSHA. After conducting an investigation, the agency found that CMM Realty unlawfully had terminated the individual's employment for reporting concerns to management about exposure to asbestos and for filing complaints with the two state agencies.

In November 2010, OSHA enforced the whistleblower provisions of the Clean Air Act by ordering the company to reinstate the whistleblower and pay him $56,222 in compensatory damages and back wages, which continue to accumulate while he is out of work. The company appealed that order to the department's Office of Administrative Law Judges, where it awaits review.

OSHA is now suing the company in federal court for discriminating against an employee because he or she has filed a complaint with OSHA.

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