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Auto dealership to pay $15K to employee fired over COVID complaints


A luxury auto dealership in Austin, Texas, has been ordered to pay $15,000 to a worker who in 2020 voiced concerns about the spread of COVID-19 and was fired as a result, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Monday.

Hi Tech Imports LLC, operating as Porsche Austin, has already reinstated the worker and paid $116,000 in back wages in an earlier agreement, according to a statement. The U.S. Department of Labor this month obtained a consent judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division, for the additional damages.

In December 2020, when the employee learned that a co-worker had tested positive for COVID-19, the employee alerted the company’s management and requested they notify other employees immediately of their exposure risk. After the dealership failed to act, the employee emailed all company employees about the potential hazards. Less than an hour later, the car dealer terminated the employee, according to the OSHA investigation.