The U.S. Department of Labor has sued a hotel operator in Texas. The suit says a worker was fired for reporting a safety issue and seeking medical attention.
According to the Department of Labor, in January 2019 an employee at a Holiday Inn Express & Suites hotel in Waller, Texas, told the hotel that they were sick due to exposure to carbon monoxide. The employee asked the hotel to call an ambulance for them, the department says.
The department alleges that instead of calling an ambulance as requested, the hotel denied the request and threatened to terminate the employee.
The employee went to the hospital for treatment. The employer then terminated the employee.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted an investigation. Then the department proceeded with a lawsuit against the hotel’s owner and operator.
The suit alleges that the defendants violated federal law. Specifically, it says the defendants retaliated against the employee for reporting unsafe working conditions and seeking medical care.
It seeks an order requiring the defendants to comply with the anti-retaliation provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. It also seeks reinstatement of the employee together with back wages. In addition, it asks the court to award compensatory and punitive damages.
More than 20 federal statutes prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who engage in protected activities, such as reporting violations of workplace safety standards.