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Asbestos removal whistleblower awarded damages, back pay

On Behalf of | Jan 9, 2018 | Workplace Retaliation

Employees in Florida and throughout the country are supposed to be protected from retaliation if they report their companies for dangerous practices. However, one man was fired from his job and sued for defamation after he reported his company for improper asbestos removal at a high school in New York.

The man made photographs of the improperly removed asbestos after entering the work site after hours and took away one bag of the asbestos. The company filed a lawsuit against him several weeks after terminating his employment. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which brought the lawsuit on the worker’s behalf, both were acts of retaliation. OSHA’s support is important in matters involving safe workplace practices since unsafe workplaces result in the death of more than 4,300 workers each year.

The jury awarded him $20,000 in compensatory damages, $103,000 in back wages and $50,000 in punitive damages. The court did not rule on whether the defamatory lawsuit was retaliatory for procedural reasons. However, in a motion for summary judgment, OSHA stated that such filings had been considered adverse actions in several previous cases.

Workers who feel they have been wrongfully terminated or retaliated against in some other way might want to look for Boca Raton, Florida, Workers’ Comp Retaliation Attorney Assistance. Retaliation might also take the form of harassment in the workplace or being demoted, suspended or denied a promotion. An attorney might be able to assist workers who are in this position in understanding their rights and what their options are. One thing employees might want to think about is what kind of compensation they would like. For example, some people might want their job back, but others may simply prefer the compensation.