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Region 2 News Release:    USDL 04-2354-NEW/BOS 2004-275
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Contact: John M. Chavez
Phone: (617) 565-2075

Labor Department Orders American Standard - Trane Corporation
To Rehire Whistleblower

NEW YORK -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has ordered the American Standard Companies and Trane Corporation, an American Standard subsidiary based in Piscataway, N.J., to pay more than $105,000 in back wages and reinstate a former controller who was fired for protected "whistleblowing" under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.

David Windhauser, a controller for Trane Corporation, complained to OSHA's New York regional office that he was terminated after he raised questions about company accounting practices to his supervisors. According to Patricia K. Clark, OSHA's regional administrator in New York, an investigation by her office determined that Windhauser had been discharged in violation of Sarbanes-Oxley.

"This is precisely the type of whistleblowing activity that is protected under the law," said Clark. "We are determined to enforce the law so that employees who expose corporate wrongdoing know they will be protected."

On Nov. 15, 2004, Clark transmitted to American Standard a notice of "Secretary's Findings and Preliminary Order" ordering the company to:
  1. Remove any disciplinary letters from Windhauser's personnel file;
  2. Reinstate Windhauser to his former position as controller for Trane Corporation in good standing; and
  3. Reimburse Windhauser back pay and compensatory remedies in the amount of $105,489.55.
Under Sarbanes-Oxley (the Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability Act), an employee may file a complaint with OSHA if the employee has been retaliated against by his or her employer for reporting suspected corporate fraud or other activities related to fraud against shareholders. If OSHA determines after an investigation that an employee's complaint has merit, it can order remedies such as reinstatement and back pay.

Companies are covered under Sarbanes-Oxley if they have a class of securities registered under section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 or if they are required to file reports under section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act.

Both the company and Windhauser have 30 days to file objections and request a hearing on the matter with the Labor Department's Office of Administrative Law Judges.

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Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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