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Region 3 News Release: 08-1023-NEW (osha 08-126)
July 30, 2008
Contact: Alisha Brown
Phone: 215-861-5101


U.S. Department of Labor files whistleblower suit against Freehold, N.J., manufacturing company

FREEHOLD, N.J. -- The U.S. Department of Labor has filed suit against Exclusive Decorators Inc.; Interiors Furniture, LLC; and its vice president, Garrett Ney, on behalf of an employee who was terminated in violation of the whistleblower provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act.

The complaint alleges that the employee was terminated after complaining to the employer about the lack of ventilation in the workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) previously had cited the employer for ventilation violations. OSHA conducted an inspection of the worksite in response to a complaint about safety and health practices.

The former employee filed a complaint with OSHA alleging retaliation by the defendants in violation of Section 11(c) of the OSH Act. OSHA investigated the complaint and determined it had merit. After being notified of OSHA’s findings, the defendants refused to reinstate the employee to the same or a substantially equivalent position of employment, and declined to pay back wages or other employment benefits.

"Every employee should be free to exercise his or her rights under the law without fear of termination or retaliation by their employers," said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York. "The Labor Department is committed to protecting those rights."

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, the complaint seeks to reinstate the employee; secure compensatory damages, lost back pay and punitive damages; and require the company to post a notice in a prominent place for 60 days that explains employee rights under Section 11(c) of the OSH Act.

Exclusive Decorators Inc. specializes in manufacturing and installing wood cabinets and furniture.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the OSH Act and 15 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various trucking, airline, nuclear power, pipeline, environmental, rail and securities laws. Detailed information on employee whistleblower rights, including fact sheets, is available online at: http://www.osha.gov/dep/oia/whistleblower/index.html.

Under the OSH Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA’s role is to promote the safety and health of America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.


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Note: The U.S. Department of Labor does not release names of employees involved in whistleblower complaints.

Chao v. Exclusive Decorators, Inc. et. al.           Civil Action Number: 08-3312 (MLC)
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U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.
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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