Endangered Employees File $40M Asbestos Suit
Former workers at a Southwest Portland (Oregon) apartment complex are suing their employer for $40 million in damages, claiming that managers put them in danger by exposing them to asbestos even though construction crews at the location had warned higher-ups that the cancer-causing fibers were present in the structures.
The suit was filed yesterday by two former employees of Tandem Property Management, notes an article in The Oregonian. The pair claims that they were terminated in retaliation for their knowledge about the asbestos cover-up that occurred at the complex, The Commons at Sylvan Highlands apartments.
The complex is comprised of several buildings, lawyers for the plaintiffs point out, and it is unclear how many renters live there and whether or not they know that they may have also been exposed to toxic fibers from the hazardous mineral.
The lawsuit claims, however, that after crews remodeling five vacant apartment units discovered what appeared to be asbestos this past May, the company’s president was livid, reports the Oregonian.
He then visited the site, “yelling that there was no asbestos and that they all needed to get back to work,” the suit says.
Three of the workers were then removed from the job and fired shortly thereafter because management thought “they were ‘loose cannons’ that might call the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) about the potential asbestos,” the suit explains.
A new crew was then hired to carry asbestos-laden material through the halls and down the elevator. One observant crew member recognized asbestos and had it tested.
Results came back positive.
Even though management was then notified, they continued with their shenanigans, demanding that workers remove asbestos-containing sheetrock without benefit of any kind of protective gear.
Given the circumstances, one worker – a groundskeeper who was asked to be part of the renovation teams – has filed suit after management fired him when they discovered he had knowledge of the asbestos.
The second plaintiff is the groundskeeper’s girlfriend, who worked as a leasing agent at The Commons at Sylvan Highlands and was fired in July after it was discovered that she, too, knew about the asbestos issues.
Public pressure in Oregon has made it a state that has little tolerance for asbestos law breakers.
Hence, if all the facts line up, this pair of plaintiffs is likely to prevail in the case against these negligent managers whose desire to cut corners may have affected the health of all who worked at the complex as well as others who live there.
The company did not yet respond to the allegations and the newspaper was unable to secure a statement from managers.