West Springfield employer sued by U.S. Dept. of Labor

Former employee was fired after filing OSHA complaint

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A former Crown Furniture employee will be paid $12,500 after an anti-discrimination lawsuit filed in May by the U.S. Department of Labor was resolved Wednesday.

According to the Department of Labor, Donald Pottern, who owns the West Springfield furniture retail, was sued by the department after an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

OSHA found that the former employee’s complaint that he was fired on May 11, 2011, two days after he filed a complaint with OSHA alleging safety and health hazards at the store

Under the terms of the judgment, Pottern will pay the settlement in weekly installments; if he fails to pay weekly, then he will have to pay the full amount at once.

“This settlement puts on notice those employers who would penalize employees for contacting OSHA or raising safety and health concerns. We will not tolerate such behavior; employees should not have to endure it,” said Patrick Kapust, OSHA’s acting deputy regional administrator for New England.

Michael Felsen, regional solicitor of labor for New England, said, “When employers try to silence their workers through unlawful retaliation, the department will work vigorously to secure the appropriate legal redress for workers.”

Employees who believe that they have been retaliated against for engaging in protected conduct may file a complaint with the secretary of labor.

Detailed information on the OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program, including fact sheets, is available at http://www.whistleblowers.gov.

For more information on OSHA, visit http://www.osha.gov/.

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