In a case that underscores the broad whistleblower statutes assigned to OSHA for investigation, the agency ordered a major casino and resort operator to reinstate a fired employee and pay a $325,000 fine for allegedly violating Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower protections. OSHA said the employee was terminated in 2008 after telling a supervisor that unlicensed colleagues were "forecasting" expected revenue to potential condo buyers. The employee also alleged pressure from others to engage in forecasting. The resort/casino company is expected to appeal.
OSHA cited SEC rules providing that if a condominium is offered for sale, with an emphasis on forecasting economic benefits to the buyer from unit rentals, it is deemed a "security" and can only be offered by a broker licensed to offer such a security. In this case, the complainant's co-workers were not licensed security brokers. OSHA spokeswoman Deanne Amaden said this is the first whistleblower case involving forecasting she has seen in 16 years at the agency, which administers the whistleblower provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley and 21 other statutes.