HOUSTON – In January 2019, a worker at a Holiday Inn Express & Suites hotel in Waller alerted their employer that exposure to carbon monoxide made them ill and asked the employer to call an ambulance. In addition to refusing the worker’s request, the employer allegedly threatened to terminate the employee. After going to the hospital, the worker was terminated.
Following an investigation on the employee’s behalf, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration filed a lawsuit alleging that the hotel’s operator, All Seasons Hospitality and Investments LLC and its owner, Tanvir Shahmohd fired the employee for engaging in protected activity, in violation of federal law.
“All Seasons Hospitality and Investments LLC and Tanvir Shahmohd violated the employee’s rights by terminating them for reporting unsafe working conditions and seeking medical care,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Eric S. Harbin in Dallas. “The U.S. Department of Labor provides protections for workers who exercise their right to raise safety concerns without the fear of retaliation.”
Filed on March 25, 2021, the department’s suit asks the court to order the defendants to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s anti-retaliation provisions, reinstate the employee, expunge the employee’s personnel record and pay the employee back wages, interest, compensatory and punitive damages and other remedies.
“When employers retaliate against their workers for seeking necessary medical treatment, the department will work vigorously to secure the appropriate legal redress for workers,” said Dallas Regional Solicitor of Labor John Rainwater. “The U.S. Department of Labor is dedicated to ensuring safe and healthful working conditions in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act.”
OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program enforces the whistleblower provisions of the OSH Act and more than 20 whistleblower statutes These statutes protect employees from retaliation for reporting violations of workplace safety and health, airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health insurance reform, motor vehicle safety, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, securities and tax laws; as well as for engaging in other related protected activities. Learn more about whistleblower protections.
Editor’s note: The U.S. Department of Labor does not release the names of employees involved in whistleblower complaints.