Couple sues former employer for exposing workers to asbestos

24 Sep 2018 by under Legal

home renovation flooring 100x100 Couple sues former employer for exposing workers to asbestosAn Oregon couple has filed a $10 million lawsuit against a Portland property management company alleging the company put workers and residents at risk for asbestos exposure during a building renovation.

The lawsuit was filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court by Khataun Thompson and his fiancée Alyssa DeWeese, against their former employer . The lawsuit claims that in May 2018, during a renovation project at the Commons at Sylvan Highland, a luxury apartment complex managed by Tandem, the company president, Thomas Cleary, knew there was asbestos present in the building but ordered workers to “get back to work.”

A month later, Thomason was assigned to work at the apartment complex, unaware that asbestos was suspected to be in the building. On June 28, 2018, Thomason and other workers found what appeared to be asbestos and brought it to the attention of the company’s manager, Tanya Tiedemann, who said she would alert Cleary. The workers also had a sample of material from the site tested. Asbestos was found in the drywall. This report was also allegedly given to Tiedemann.

Ten days after notifying the manager about asbestos on the property, Thompson was fired. “They told me, ‘We are an at-will employer. We don’t have to disclose why we’re ending our working relationship with you,’” Thompson told KOIN 6 News. A week and a half later, DeWeese was also let go from the company.

The couple’s lawsuit claims that Tandem requested “Ms. DeWeese help Tandem engage in apparent intimidation and retaliation against an employee aware of the asbestos test result,” but that she refused.

The lawsuit also states that a private investigator discovered that the company had transported asbestos-containing materials through common areas of the apartment complex, and that materials were moved from a property in Multnomah County to Washington County, where there are fewer regulations about disposing of materials.

Thompson filed two complaints with the Bureau of Labor and Industries, which are currently under investigation. The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is also conducting an investigation.

Source: KOIN 6 News

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