The retirement home whistleblower I blogged about in January has been awarded $20,000 in back pay. On September 24, 2013, a federal court ordered S.E.M. Villa II Inc., a nonprofit corporation that operates S.E.M. Terrace, a retirement facility in Milford, OH, to pay a former resident manager $20,000 in back wages pursuant to a consent judgment and order in a case involving violations of the whistleblower provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. The complaint alleged that the employer terminated the resident manager for filing a complaint with the Clermont County General Health District stating that S.E.M. Villa II had been ineffective in handling a bedbug infestation at the retirement home.
"OSHA is committed to protecting the rights of America’s workers, who are penalized or terminated for filing complaints seeking to improve the safety and health of their work environment and those affected by it," said Nick A. Walters, OSHA’s regional administrator in Chicago. "A worker should never be at risk of losing their job for reporting health and safety violations and exercising their whistleblower rights."
The manager was dismissed Oct. 5, 2011. Federal Magistrate Judge J. Gregory Wehrman ordered the company to remove all derogatory information related to the dismissal from the worker’s employment record and to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act in the future. The company must also post a notice for workers regarding their rights under the act.