Whistleblower Receives Settlement

A beauty salon should be a place you go to look good and feel good.

But when a receptionist at Salon Zoe, a Bronx hair salon, started talking about the hazards of the salon’s formaldehyde-containing straightening products, things got very ugly. Days after the receptionist gave her co-workers an Occupational Safety and Health Administration fact sheet about formaldehyde hazards, she was fired.

It’s OSHA’s job to keep workplaces safe and healthy, and OSHA also protects the workers who raise concerns about safety and health hazards. In fact, OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the OSH Act and 21 other statutes protecting workers who report violations of numerous types.

So when this illegal firing took place at Salon Zoe, lawyers in the department’s Solicitor’s Office, working with OSHA investigators, brought a lawsuit in federal court to fight against the unlawful retaliation.

The evidence was clear and they were able to bring justice for this worker, securing a settlement with Salon Zoe and owner Kristina Veljovic before trial. Not only did the defendants pay their former receptionist $65,000 in lost wages, they also agreed to pay $100,000 in compensatory damages for emotional pain and suffering. They also removed references to the termination from her personnel records.

Not only did OSHA help the worker they made sure that the salon won’t do this again to someone else. Salon Zoe agreed to permanently post an OSHA poster in a prominent spot in the workplace and to distribute an OSHA whistleblower fact sheet to current employees and new hires. OSHA even went out to the salon during work hours so that a statement of whistleblower rights could be read, including a notice that the salon was under an injunction from the court to follow the law.

Source: Department of Labor  |   2016 © Copyright Payroll Masters

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