An employee of Richmond University Medical Center, a New York hospital affiliated with Mount Sinai Hospital, recently filed an asbestos lawsuit against his former employer. The worker was employed as a plumber at the Staten Island hospital. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff claims that once he notified his employer about the existence of asbestos at the worksite, his employment was terminated.
In addition to his asbestos litigation, the former hospital employee may have other claims against the New York based medical center. The hospital’s actions may be found to be retaliatory against the worker and in violation of federal whistleblower laws.
The worker performed many plumbing tasks throughout the hospital from 2005 through 2013. Asbestos was a common material used to insulate pipes and ductwork. In 2005, he initially brought up a concern about exposed friable asbestos present in the hospital’s plumbing shop. At that time, his supervisors told him asbestos abatement was too expensive. The plaintiff in this case asserts that his complaints about safety and possible asbestos exposure were repeatedly ignored. According to the former employee, he was told by his managers to stop complaining or he would lose his job.
In November of 2013, the employee was instructed to fix a steam pipe. According to the plaintiff, the pipe’s fittings were wrapped in asbestos covered material. As a result, the employee asked the employer for protective safety gear in order to complete the task. The employer refused to provide the protective gear and suspended the employee without pay for failing to comply with a work directive.
Within a week of this incident, the plumber made his first complaint to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding the unsafe working conditions at Richmond University Medical Center. On December 3, 2013 the employee filed a second complaint with OSHA. The hospital terminated the plumber’s employment within days of him filing his second OSHA complaint.
Although his health was at risk, the employee feared for his job and continued to work in an environment in which he was at risk for asbestos exposure. The former employee will not know if he will suffer the effects of the toxic asbestos exposure for many years to come. The latency period of the symptoms and diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma takes decades to develop.
If you or a loved may have been exposed to asbestos at work, please contact the Philadelphia asbestos lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler. We will evaluate your asbestos claim at no cost to you. We represent clients in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Call our Center City Philadelphia office today at 800-369-0899 or contact us online.