OSHA Files Whistleblower Suit Against Colorado Medical Clinic

An employee had complained about safety and health hazards to the clinic's management staff 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 has filed a lawsuit against the Brighton Medical Clinic in Brighton, Colo., and its owner, Luithuk Zimik, 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 clinic's management staff 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. After being notified of OSHA's findings, the defendants refused to reinstate the employee to the same or a substantially equivalent position and to pay back wages or other employment benefits.

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 worksite for 60 days that explains employee rights under Section 11(c) of the OSH Act.

"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."

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