Today, my food safety whistleblower clients, Elsy Ortega and Evelin Iglesias, are featured in a page 1 story in El Tiempo Latino.
Ortega and Iglesias worked as supervisors in Pollo Campero restaurants in Wheaton and Gaithersburg, Maryland, respectively. They report that in 2013, managers ordered them to wash, prepare and serve expired and moldy chicken. Each of them refused and each of them got fired.
They retained Silver Spring attorney David Vega and myself to file whistleblower complaints with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The complaints claim that Pollo Campero violated the employee protections in the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FMSA).
If OSHA finds that their terminations violated FMSA, OSHA can order Pollo Campero to reinstate them, change company policies, and pay compensatory damages and attorney’s fees.
That OSHA still has not investigated Ortega’s and Iglesias’ 2013 complaints shows that Congress has failed to provide OSHA with enough funding to enforce all 22 whistleblower protection laws.
Still, FMSA is a powerful law that protects 20 million American workers employed in the food industry.
By Richard Renner