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OSHA News Release
Region 5

Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.

Feb. 16, 2018

U.S. Department of Labor and Ohio Environmental Services
Company Resolve Lawsuit on Whistleblower Allegations

STEUBENVILLE, OH – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Environmental Management Specialists Inc. (EMS) reached a settlement agreement that resolves a lawsuit filed under the anti-retaliation provision of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act. Under the agreement, Steubenville, Ohio-based EMS will pay $21,000 in back wages to one of its employees.

A field technician alleged EMS terminated him after he filed complaints with OSHA that employees were exposed to confined space and respiratory hazards as they cleaned storage tanks.

In addition to paying the technician $21,000 in back wages, EMS will expunge the termination and all references to this action from the employee’s record.

“An employee’s commitment to workplace safety should be commended – not punished,” said Ken Nishiyama Atha, OSHA Chicago-area Regional Administrator. “This settlement represents a true win for an employee willing to exercise his rights to ensure workplace safety for his co-workers and himself.”

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of 22 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. Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise concerns or provide information to their employer or the government under any of these laws. Employees who believe they are retaliated against for engaging in protected conduct may file a complaint with OSHA’s Directorate of Whistleblower Protection Programs.

Under the OSH Act, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to 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

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Editor’s note: The U.S. Department of Labor does not release the names of employees involved in whistleblower complaints.

Civil Action Number: 2-17-cv-00821

Media Contacts:

Scott Allen, 312-353-4727,
Rhonda Burke, 312-353-6976,

Release Number: 18-243-CHI

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