OSHA Sues Idaho Falls School District

An employee was fired for raising concerns about asbestos removal, according to the department.

OSHA announced it has filed a lawsuit against the Idaho Falls School District, alleging that the 2011 dismissal of an employee who raised concerns about asbestos hazards during a construction project at a school violated the whistleblower provisions of the federal asbestos worker protection law, the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act. The complaint asks for the employee to be reinstated as well as paid back with interest and other damages of more than $300,000.

"Protecting children, teachers, and others who care for them at school should be appreciated, not condemned for any reason. The employee who raised safety concerns in this case did a service to the school and the community," said Galen Blanton, deputy regional administrator in Seattle. "Employees have the legal right to raise concerns about safety, health, and environmental hazards in the workplace without the fear of reprisal."

The employee was concerned that a project's schedule would not allow enough time to follow regulations for asbestos removal and that accidental release of asbestos fibers might occur, according to OSHA. 

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