Texas hotel operator agrees to pay back wages, damages to worker fired after reporting unsafe work conditions, seeking medical help
HOUSTON – All Seasons Hospitality and Investments LLC and owner Tanvir Shahmohd, operator of a Houston-area hotel, has agreed to pay an employee back wages and damages following a U.S. Department of Labor whistleblower investigation.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated a January 2019 incident in which the employee told the employer their concerns about carbon monoxide exposure in the workplace. The employee also told the employer they felt ill and requested medical attention, but the employer refused to call an ambulance. The employee was terminated after they went to the hospital.
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas signed a consent judgment on Nov. 5 in which the company and owner will pay $3,750 in back wages and $3,700 in compensatory damages to the former employee of Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Waller.
“All Seasons Hospitality and Investments LLC and owner Tanvir Shahmohd ignored an employee’s concerns for their health and safety,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Eric S. Harbin in Dallas. “Employees have the right to report unsafe working conditions and seek medical care without the fear of losing their job and other retaliation. Our investigation, litigation and court’s decision upheld these protections.”
In addition to back wages and damages, the court prohibits the employer from violating provisions of Section 11(c) and requires the company to provide a neutral work reference. The company must also distribute the OSHA fact sheet, Filing Whistleblower Complaints under Section 11(c) of the OSH Act of 1970, to all current and future employees hired through October 2023.
“When employers retaliate against their workers for seeking necessary medical treatment, the U.S. Department of Labor will work vigorously to secure the appropriate legal redress for workers,” said Dallas Regional Solicitor of Labor John Rainwater. “The department is dedicated to ensuring safe and healthful working conditions as the Occupational Safety and Health Act requires.”
OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program enforces the whistleblower provisions of more than 20 whistleblower statutes protecting employees from retaliation for reporting violations of various 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, tax, antitrust, and anti-money laundering laws and for engaging in other related protected activities. For more information on whistleblower protections, visit OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Programs webpage.