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U.S. Department of Labor Files OSH Act Lawsuit Against Florida Canvas Manufacturer for Terminating Whistleblower Who Complained About Rodent Infestation

The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) filed a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit against Aquatech Canvas & Consignment, a division of LOTO Services, LLC, and its owner, Allan R. Lochhead, for terminating an employee who raised health concerns about Aquatech’s facility in Stuart, Florida.  According to OSHA, Aquatech Canvas & Consignment “specializes in the preparation, sale and installation of canvas, including covers for boats and upholstery.”

OSHA filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida after its investigation found that Aquatech and Lochhead violated the whistleblower provisions of Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act when they terminated the employee for raising health concerns.  The employee reported to management that the offices were infested with rodents and that rodent droppings could be seen in various places.   Although Lochhead personally placed rodent traps in the office, the problem persisted and the employee complained again.  When Lochhead insisted that there was no rodent problem, the employee filed a health complaint with OSHA.  One day after OSHA notified Aquatech and Lochhead about the complaint the company fired the employee.

In addition to requesting back wages, interest, and compensatory and punitive damages, OSHA is asking the employee be reinstated and that Aquatech expunge from the employee’s personnel records any negative information relating to this matter.

The Employment Law Group® law firm has an extensive nationwide whistleblower practice  representing employees who have been victims of retaliation.

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