The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined DISH Network because it blacklisted an employee who reported fraudulent billing. Even though the employee was trying to save the company money, he was blacklisted after reporting that a vendor was committing billing fraud.
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley law. It ruled that DISH must pay $157,024 in back wages and $100,000 in damages. It will also have to take corrective action for its violations of the anti-retaliatory provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. In addition, it will have to pay reasonable attorney’s fees, remove any reference to the act that the employee exercised his rights, and post a notice visible to employees about their whistleblower rights.
The employee, who worked in the marketing department of company’s New York office in 2007 and 2008, learned that he had been blacklisted three times after leaving DISH and had received a negative job reference. Moreover, DISH refused to do business with the employee’s new company and refused to carry a new channel because it determined that its former employee was representing the channel. The man filed a complaint with OSHA in August of 2011.
According to OSHA’s New York regional administrator, “Blacklisting is a particularly insidious form of retaliation that can follow workers and even cost them new jobs. It is not only an unacceptable practice, it’s illegal.”
Both DISH and the employee have 30 days to appeal the ruling.
Source: Insuranenews.net, “US Department of Labor’s OSHA Orders DISH Network to Pay More Than $257,000 in Wages And Damages To Blacklisted Former Employee,” Mar. 19, 2014.