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OSHA Fines DISH Network $250K for Blacklisting Whistleblower

Jaclyn Jaeger | March 31, 2014

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration this month ordered DISH Network to pay a former employee more than $250,000 for violating the anti-retaliatory provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

According to OSHA, the cable network company violated the anti-retaliatory provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley by blacklisting the former employee after he reported a vendor for submitting fraudulent invoices. “A worker has a right to report wrongdoing to their employer without fear of retaliation during their employment, and after,” Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York, said in a statement.

According to OSHA, the employee worked in DISH's marketing department between March 2007 and November 2008. In the summer of 2008, the employee notified his superior that a vendor was defrauding DISH by charging for work it had not done.

In August 2011, the employee filed a complaint with OSHA after discovering that DISH blacklisted him on three occasions after he left the company. These included a negative job reference, DISH's refusal to do business with the employee's subsequent employer, and its refusal to carry a satellite channel after learning that the employee represented the channel.

After finding merit to the complaint, OSHA ordered DISH to pay $157,024 in back wages and $100,000 in compensatory damages. In addition, DISH must

  • Pay the whistleblower's attorneys' fees;
  • Expunge his employment record of any reference to his exercising his rights under Sarbanes-Oxley;
  • Not retaliate or discriminate in any way against the whistleblower moving forward; and
  • Post a notice in a place visible to employees about their whistleblower rights.

Both DISH Network and the whistleblower have 30 days from receipt of OSHA's finding to file an appeal with OSHA's Office of Administrative Law Judges.