Following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), All Seasons Hospitality and Investments LLC and its Houston-based owner Tanvir Shahmohd will pay a whistleblower back wages and damages.
According to a November 8 news release, OSHA investigated an incident in January of 2019 in which an employee notified the company about their concerns regarding a carbon monoxide exposure. The employee told the employer that “they felt ill and requested medical attention, but the employer refused to call an ambulance.” The news release states that the whistleblowing employee “was terminated after they went to the hospital.”
On November 5, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas “signed a consent judgement…in which the company and owner will pay $3,750 in back wages and $3,700 in compensatory damages to the former employee of Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Waller,” the news release reports.
Additionally, the court “prohibits the employer from violating provisions of Section 11(c) and requires the company to provide a neutral work reference.” The employer must also distribute an OSHA Fact Sheet about filing whistleblower complaints “to all current and future employees hired through October 2023.” The Fact Sheet informs employees about filing complaints under Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Employees can learn about what activities are protected under the Act, behavior that counts as “unfavorable employment actions,” and find out more details about filing complaints.
“All Seasons Hospitality and Investments LLC and owner Tanvir Shahmohd ignored an employee’s concerns for their health and safety,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Eric S. Harbin in the news release. “Employees have the right to report unsafe working conditions and seek medical care without the fear of losing their job and other retaliation. Our investigation, litigation and court’s decision upheld these protections.”
“When employers retaliate against their workers for seeking necessary medical treatment, the U.S. Department of Labor will work vigorously to secure the appropriate legal redress for workers,” said Dallas Regional Solicitor of Labor John Rainwater. “The department is dedicated to ensuring safe and healthful working conditions as the Occupational Safety and Health Act requires.”
DOL’s OSHA aims “to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for workers,” according to its website. The agency’s Whistleblower Protection Program enforces the whistleblower provisions under 25 whistleblower statutes.