Judge Sides With OSHA in Whistleblower Lawsuit

PALMETTO, Fla. — A federal judge ruled that the U.S. Department of Labor can sue Manatee School for the Arts for allegedly firing an employee for reporting electrical safety problems to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

School officials asked that the case be dismissed, claiming that OSHA does not have jurisdiction over the school since it does not regulate local or government agencies, the Herald-Tribune reports. Judge Steven D. Merryday sided with OSHA, which argued that the school operates as a “private employer.”

Now, the school might have to defend its July 2009 firing of a stagehand who reported improperly placed extension cords and a lack of sprinkler systems. The Department of Labor’s lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction against the school to prevent future safety violations, and the reinstatement of the employee with full benefits, payment of lost wages and damages.

Read the full story.

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