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Hey, look, we’re on TV! Better fire that guy!

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in Employment Law,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Preventing Workplace Violence

The U.S. Department of Labor has settled with a Houston company that it claims illegally fired an employee who had complained about workplace safety issues to local news media.

The $30,000 settlement with Triple B Cleaning, a commercial steam cleaning business, resolved findings by OSHA whistle-blower investigators that the employee had requested personal protective equipment while performing cleaning duties.

According to OSHA, the Mexia-based Triple B denied the request.

OSHA alleged that Triple B demoted the employee when a news reporter contacted the worker’s supervisor. The employee was later discharged after his story aired on a local newscast.

The employee then filed a whistle-blower complaint claiming that Triple B retaliated against him for contacting the media.

OSHA investigated the complaint and determined that Triple B’s decision to fire the worker violated the whistle-blower provision of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

In addition to paying the employee for lost wages, Triple B agreed to an injunction prohibiting future discrimination and to post a notice for 60 days advising employees of their rights under the Act’s whistle-blower protection provision.

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