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Florida Whistleblower Lawyers > Blog > IRS Whistleblower > DOL Sues Florida Security Contractor For Whistleblower Retaliation

DOL Sues Florida Security Contractor For Whistleblower Retaliation

Legal22

On February 14th, 2022, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) announced a lawsuit against VRP Group Inc. The Florida-based security services contractor does business under the name Regius Investigations and Protective Services. According to the allegations raised in the federal whistleblower complaint, the company unlawfully terminated an employee who blew the whistle on several workplace safety violations. In this blog post, our Florida IRS whistleblower attorneys provide an overview of the allegations raised by the DOL.

Whistleblower Retaliation Lawsuit: COVID-19 Safety Policies and Firearms Safety Violations 

The DOL filed a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit against Florida’s Regius Investigations and Protective Services in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. According to the allegations raised in the legal complaint, the security contractor terminated a worker in August of 2020 in violation of whistleblower protection laws. The whistleblower was fired after:

  1. Reporting the company’s violation of COVID-19 workplace safety regulations; and
  2. Reporting the company’s failure to comply with workplace firearms safety regulations.

The DOL argues that the termination amounts to whistleblower retaliation because the employee in question was fired shortly after notifying supervisors at the company of the safety violations. The employee in question worked at a job site in the area of Port Arthur. Texas. An initial investigation by OSHA supported the whistleblower’s claim of unlawful retaliation by the employer.

Whistleblower Protection: Section 11(c)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act

There are federal laws in place to help ensure that employees have access to a safe and secure workplace. Employers are required to follow certain workplace safety regulations. Notably, employers have a general right to report a violation of a workplace safety rule. A report can be made internally within a company or externally, to state or federal regulations. Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) strictly bars any retaliation against workers who report workplace safety violations. Here are four things employees should know about their rights under this section of the OSH Act:

  1. Coverage: All companies and organizations engaged in business affecting interstate commerce are covered by the law’s whistleblower protection provisions.
  2. Protected Activity: Both written and oral communications reporting safety violations are considered to be protected activity under the law.
  3. Unfavorable Employment Act: Unlawful whistleblower retaliation can come in many different forms. Beyond termination, it can also include other punishments, such as demotion, suspension, or general harassment.
  4. Recovery: Remedies depend on the specific nature of the whistleblower violations. If you were fired in retaliation for whistleblower activity, you may be entitled to full back pay and other forms of relief.

Consult With a Whistleblower Rights Attorney in Florida

At Guttman, Freidin & Celler, we strive to protect the legal rights of whistleblowers. If you have any questions about blowing the whistle on government program fraud, our attorneys are here to help. Contact us today for a strictly confidential review and assessment of your case. Our law firm provides whistleblower representation in Florida and nationwide.

Resource:

dol.gov/newsroom/releases/opa/opa20220214

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