On January 10, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor filed a lawsuit in federal court against S.E.M. Villa II Inc., a nonprofit corporation that operates S.E.M. Terrace, a retirement facility in Milford Ohio. The lawsuit claims that S.E.M. Villa violated the whistleblower provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. The alleged violation occurred when the employer terminated a resident manager for filing a complaint with the Clermont County General Health District stating that S.E.M. Villa II had been ineffective in handling a bedbug infestation at the retirement home.
The manager was dismissed Oct. 5, 2011. The suit seeks reinstatement of the worker, in addition to an undetermined amount of back wages and benefits, and the removal of all derogatory information related to the dismissal from the worker’s employment record. The suit also seeks to permanently enjoin the employer from violating the OSH Act in the future and require that a notice be posted for employees regarding their rights under the act.
“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is committed to protecting the rights of America’s workers who are penalized or terminated for filing complaints seeking to improve the safety and health of their work environment and those affected by it,” said Nick Walters, OSHA’s regional administrator in Chicago.