Dish Networks forced to pay out to whistleblower

US satellite operator Dish Network has been told by the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to pay a former employee $157,024 in back wages and $100,000 in compensatory damages. The employee was blacklisted by the firm after reporting one of Dish’s vendors for submitting fraudulent invoices.

The employee, who worked in Dish’s marketing department between March 2007 and November 2008, told his superior in the summer of 2008 that a vendor was defrauding the operator by charging for work that had not been done.

The employee then moved to work for a satellite broadcaster and in August 2011, filed a complaint with OSHA against Dish alleging that his former employer had blacklisted him three times after he left the firm.

The employees alleged that Dish had given him a negative job reference, refused to do business with his new employer and refused to carry a satellite channel after learning that the former employee represented the channel at the time.

OSHA’s investigated the claims and found merit to the employee’s complaint. It had now ordered DISH Network to take corrective action.

“A worker has a right to report wrongdoing to their employer without fear of retaliation during their employment and after,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York. “Blacklisting is a particularly insidious form of retaliation that can follow workers and even cost them new jobs. It is not only an unacceptable practice, it’s illegal.”

Dish spokespeople were not available for comment at the time of writing.

In June last year, US wimax operator Clearwire’s board of directors unanimously voted to recommend an offer for Dish Network to acquire all of its outstanding common shares of Clearwire at a price of $4.40 per share.

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