BEDFORD HEIGHTS -- Coit Services of Ohio has been ordered to pay $161,228 in back wages, compensatory damages and interest, plus attorney's fees, to a technician following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The investigation found that the Bedford Heights company violated the whistle-blower provisions of the Clean Air Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act.
An investigation conducted by OSHA found that Coit Services wrongfully terminated an on-location technician for raising safety concerns about lead abatement during a residential water mitigation project in Shaker Heights.
OSHA's investigation concluded that the on-location technician, who has a license from the Environmental Protection Agency to perform renovation work on homes potentially with lead paint, was terminated in January 2012 for reporting breaches of lead abatement protocol.
The breaches occurred when another employee deviated from lead safety practices by using a circular saw improperly to remove a ceiling. Possibly, this spread lead-based paint dust throughout the home.
The agency has ordered Coit Services of Ohio to reinstate the technician to his former position with all pay, benefits and rights, and pay back wages of $82,000, plus interest, compensatory damages of $60,000 and reasonable attorney's fees of $19,228. The CAA and TSCA do not provide for an award of punitive damages.
The company must also remove disciplinary information from the employee's personnel record and provide whistle-blower rights information to its employees.
Employees who believe that they have been retaliated against for engaging in protected conduct may file a complaint with the secretary of labor to request an investigation by OSHA's Whistle-blower Protection Programs.
Detailed information on employee whistle-blower rights is atwhistleblowers.gov