Worker Fired for 'Ratting' about Rodent Infestation

The employee had reported serious concerns to management regarding rodents and rodent droppings in the office and requested to have these problems corrected.

The U.S. Department of Labor is suing LOTO Services LLC and its owner, Allan R. Lochhead, for allegedly terminating an employee of Aquatech Technologies, which does business as Aquatech Canvas & Consignment, because that employee raised health concerns about rodent infestations at Aquatech's facility in Stuart, Fla. The lawsuit is based on an investigation by OSHA that found the firing violated the whistleblower provisions of Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. LOTO Services LLC owns Aquatech Technologies, which does business as Aquatech Canvas and Consignment.

The suit seeks to have the employee reinstated and paid back wages, interest, and compensatory and punitive damages. Additionally, the suit requests that the employee's personnel records be expunged with respect to the matters at issue in this case, the employer be barred against future violations of the law by a permanent injunction, and the court grant any other appropriate relief.

"Retaliating against workers for raising health and safety concerns is a violation of federal law," said Cindy Coe, OSHA's regional administrator in Atlanta. "Employers found violating these basic worker rights will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

The employee had reported serious concerns to management regarding rodents and rodent droppings in the office and requested to have these problems corrected. Lochhead placed rodent traps in the office, but the problem continued. The employee complained again, but Lochhead indicated there was no rodent problem, so the employee filed a health complaint with OSHA. One day after the company was notified of the health complaint by OSHA officials, the employee was terminated. The employee filed a timely whistleblower complaint with OSHA, which concluded that the company and Lochhead had unlawfully and intentionally terminated the worker for engaging in activity protected by the OSH Act.

The Labor Department is represented in court by its Regional Office of the Solicitor in Atlanta. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Fort Pierce Division.

Aquatech Canvas & Consignment specializes in the preparation, sale and installation of canvas, including covers for boats and upholstery.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • The Top 5 Safety and Technology Trends to Watch

    Get the latest on trends you can expect to hear more about in 2019, including continued growth of mobile safety applications, wearable technology, and smart PPE; autonomous vehicles; pending OSHA recordkeeping rulemaking; and increased adoption of international safety standard, ISO 45001.

  • Analyze Incident Data

    Collect relevant incident data, analyze trends, and generate accurate regulatory reports, including OSHA 300, 300A, and 301 logs, through IndustrySafe’s extensive incident reporting and investigation module.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common training questions.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - January 2019

    January / February 2019


      Production vs. Safety 
      Meeting the Requirements for Emergency Equipment
      The State of Contractor Safety
      The Three Keys to Effective Chemical Management
    View This Issue