The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a lawsuit against Jasper Roofing Contractors Inc. and its owner/chief executive officer, Brian Wedding, for terminating their safety manager after he cooperated with a safety and health inspection by the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The suit results from an investigation by OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program.
Filed on Dec. 28, 2016, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, the lawsuit alleges that Jasper and Wedding discriminated against the safety manager by conducting retaliatory acts, ultimately resulting in termination, after he provided documentation to OSHA regarding the company's safety compliance and for attempting to improve the safety culture at the roofing company, a violation of Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
The suit seeks back wages, interest, compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief. Additionally, it seeks to have the employee's personnel records expunged with respect to the matters at issue in this case and to bar Jasper Roofing Contractors against future violations of the OSH Act. The department's Office of the Solicitor in Atlanta is litigating the case.
"Employees have the right to participate in an Occupational Safety and Health inspection without the fear of retaliation," said Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA's regional administrator in Atlanta. "OSHA will continue to hold companies accountable that violate the whistleblower provisions of the OSH Act."
Founded in 2004, Jasper Roofing has corporate offices in Kennesaw, Georgia as well as offices in Indiana, and multiple locations throughout Florida including Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myers and Kissimmee. Its parent company, Wedding Holdings, also has subsidiaries in commercial real estate, food service and automotive industries.
Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise various protected concerns or provide protected information to the employer or to the government. 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 Whistleblower Protection Program..
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the OSH Act and 21 other statutes, protecting employees who report violations of various securities, financial services, trucking, airline, nuclear power, pipeline, environmental, rail, maritime, health care, food safety, motor vehicle safety, workplace safety and health regulations, and consumer product safety laws. Detailed information on employee whistleblower rights, including fact sheets, is available at http://www.whistleblowers.gov