U.S. Department of Labor Orders Vermont Company to Compensate Employee Fired for Reporting Finance Industry Violations

February 6, 2019

BOSTON, MA – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has ordered Hermitage Club Realty LLC – a real estate company based in Wilmington, Vermont – to pay a former employee $22,693 in back pay and bonuses with interest, and $20,000 in compensatory damages.

Hermitage Club Realty LLC terminated the employee on December 18, 2017, after informing the company of what he reasonably believed were illegal real estate referral fees, and after filing a formal complaint with Vermont regulators. An OSHA investigation determined that the employee’s actions were protected activity, and his discharge violated the whistleblower provisions of the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA).

“OSHA’s investigation confirmed the complainant appropriately alerted state regulators,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Galen Blanton. “CFPA prohibits retaliation against whistleblowers for reporting activities that they reasonably believe violate federal consumer financial protection laws to state regulators.”

OSHA also ordered Hermitage Club Realty LLC to expunge the complainant’s employment records of any references to his exercising his CFPA rights; not retaliate or discriminate against the complainant; and post a notice of OSHA’s findings in a conspicuous place in or about its facility. The company or the complainant may appeal the order to the Department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the CFPA and more than 20 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, motor vehicle safety, healthcare reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, and securities laws. For more information on whistleblower protections, visit OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Programs webpage.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.