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Dentists ordered to pay $15K in back wages against fired whistleblowers


Owners of a Texas dental practice have been ordered to compensate two fired workers with a combined $15,706 in back pay after the employees claimed they were terminated for raising concerns about workplace COVID-19 mitigation measures.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Tuesday that North Richland Hills, Texas-based dental practice Roger H. Bohannan DDS Inc. will have to reimburse the employees for back pay that was lost after they were fired from their jobs as dental hygienist and dental assistant, respectively.

OSHA alleged that dentists Roger Bohannan and David Bohannan discriminated against the employees after the workers exercised their rights to express concerns about jobsite health and safety during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

The workers were initially furloughed in March and April 2020, with the understanding that they would eventually be reinstated, but both were ultimately terminated after raising workplace COVID-19 concerns, according to OSHA.

The U.S. Department of Labor filed suit against the dentists in federal court in July 2021, and a federal judge in Northern District of Texas entered a consent judgment against the dentists earlier this month, OSHA stated.

In addition to back pay, the judgment also orders the dentists to refrain from future violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and requires them to provide neutral work references for wrongfully fired employees.