OSHA News Release - Table of Contents|
Region 8 News Release: 11-1668-DEN (11-263)
Nov. 28, 2011
Contact: Michael Shimizu
US Department of Labor's OSHA files whistleblower lawsuit against
Lakewood, Colo., animal shelter for improperly firing employee
DENVER – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has filed a lawsuit against the Angels With Paws animal shelter in Lakewood on behalf of an employee who was terminated in violation of the whistleblower provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
The employee had complained about safety and health hazards to the animal shelter's management before filing a formal complaint about the hazards with OSHA. The employee was later discharged and then filed a whistleblower complaint with OSHA alleging retaliation by the defendants in violation of Section 11(c) of the OSH Act. OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program conducted an investigation and determined the former employee's allegations had merit.
"Employees should be free to exercise their rights under the law without fear of termination or retaliation by their employers," said Gregory Baxter, OSHA's regional administrator in Denver. "This lawsuit underscores the Labor Department's commitment to vigorously take action to protect those rights."
Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, the complaint seeks to reinstate the employee, secure compensatory damages and lost back pay, and require the company to post a notice in a prominent place at the work site for 60 days that explains employee rights under Section 11(c) of the OSH Act.
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the OSH Act and 20 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various securities, trucking, airline, nuclear, pipeline, environmental, rail, maritime, consumer product and food safety laws. Under these laws enacted by Congress, employers are proh