A federal judge has ordered a commercial laundry to pay up in a case involving an employee who claims to have been fired for filing a complaint with OSHA about unsafe conditions.
Party Rental Enterprises, Inc., dba Able Linen Service, must pay the former employee $20,000 in back wages plus $17,000 in punitive damages, and delete any references to suspension and discharge from the employee’s personnel file.
The company will also have to post the OSHA whistleblower poster at its locations in Auburn, Cicero and Liverpool, NY. Employees at the three locations must receive the OSHA whistleblower fact sheet, too.
The employee’s complaint dates back to 2005. OSHA ordered the employee’s reinstatement and payment of accrued wages and benefits.
However, the company didn’t respond to the investigation, the order, subpoenas, summonses and other legal action until the Department of Labor secured a default judgment from the court.
The Occupational Safety and Health 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.