Construction Foreman Sues for Whistleblower Retaliation

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Lawsuit alleges that Monmouth County employer George Harms Construction Co. fired foreman Michael Dodd in retaliation for his reporting unsafe working conditions and fraud to OSHA.

Construction foreman Michael Dodd has filed a lawsuit against his former employer, George Harms Construction Co., Inc., alleging that the company demoted him and terminated his employment because he blew the whistle on business practices which he believed to be illegal, fraudulent, unethical, and harmful to public safety.

The Complaint in the case of Michael Dodd v. George Harms Construction Co., Inc., MON-L-2582-08, filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Monmouth Vicinage, alleges that in January 2006, Mr. Dodd, a construction supervisor who had worked for the company for over twenty years, told his boss that his fellow foremen were not conducting weekly safety meetings. These foremen were filing false safety meeting reports to document "meetings" which never occurred, according to the Complaint. Mr. Dodd alleges that after he reported this conduct, the company isolated him, demoted him, took away his crew, and assigned him the worst jobs on the site, including picking up garbage.

The Complaint further alleges that in April 2007, Mr. Dodd blew the whistle again, this time about a retaining wall built by the company on Routes 1 and 9 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Mr. Dodd alleges that he wrote a letter to Chief Executive Officer Tom Hardell stating that he believed the company had intentionally altered the design and structure of the wall, compromising its structural integrity, without the consent or knowledge of the State. The Complaint states that Mr. Dodd also contacted the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration regarding his claims. According to Mr. Dodd, the company then began an "investigation" which was designed, not to look into and remedy the problem with the wall, but to cover-up its conduct and find grounds to terminate Mr. Dodd's employment. According to the Complaint, the company terminated Mr. Dodd's employment at the conclusion of its investigation, finding that Mr. Dodd was "insubordinate," "highly irresponsible," "recklessly indifferent to the truth," "dishonest and disruptive," and had "lied" about his safety concerns.

Mr. Dodd's attorney, Steven Siegler, of East Brunswick, New Jersey, stated that "Mike Dodd is a hard working man who devoted twenty years of his life to one employer. The fact that the company terminated his employment just weeks after he contacted OSHA and reported an allegedly unsafe condition on one of this State's busiest highways is, in my view, a clear violation of whistleblower protection law."

About The Law Office of Steven Siegler, Esq.:
The Law Office of Steven Siegler, Esq. represents New Jersey's professional and executive workforce in all areas of employment law, including discrimination on the basis of age, gender, pregnancy, race, religion, or disability, sexual harassment, whistleblower retaliation, severance package negotiations, breach of contract, non-compete agreements, wage and hour claims, and civil rights violations. For more information visit
http://www.njemploymentattorney.com or http://www.njemploymentlawyerblog.com.

Contact:
Steven Siegler
The Law Office of Steven Siegler, Esq.
(732) 214-2648
http://www.njemploymentattorney.com

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