The owner of a Texas dental office has been ordered to compensate two fired workers a combined $15,706 in back wages after the employees claimed they were fired for raising concerns about the workplace’s measures to mitigate COVID-19.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Tuesday that North Richland Hills, Texas-based dentist Roger H. Bohannan DDS Inc. will have to reimburse employees for back wages lost after they were fired from their dental hygienist and dental assistant jobs. , respectively.
OSHA alleged that dentists Roger Bohannan and David Bohannan discriminated against the employees after the workers exercised their rights to express concerns about workplace health and safety during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
The workers were initially laid off in March and April 2020, with the expectation that they would eventually be reinstated, but both were ultimately terminated after raising concerns about COVID-19 in the workplace, according to OSHA.
The U.S. Department of Labor sued the dentists in federal court in July 2021, and a federal judge in the Northern District of Texas entered a consent judgment against the dentists earlier this month, OSHA said.
In addition to back pay, the judgment also orders the dentists to refrain from future violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and orders them to provide neutral work references for wrongfully terminated employees.