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ThursdayJanuary 3, 2013

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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6 Toy Vendors Gunned Down in Mexico

6 Toy Vendors Gunned Down in Mexico

Photo: Violence in Ecatepec, Mexico

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Six toy vendors were killed in an apparent robbery in a suburb of the Mexican capital, police said Thursday.

The four men and two women were slain in the wee hours of Thursday as they were returning to their home in Ecatepec, located in Mexico state, after selling toys at a nearby fair.

The assailants, who were armed with rifles, took a pickup truck belonging to the victims, unidentified police sources told media outlets.

The attackers apparently killed the vendors after they refused to hand over their merchandise and vehicles, the sources said.

Spokespeople with the Mexico state Attorney General’s Office said they had no information about the multiple murders in Ecatepec.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Battle Against Arizona Immigration Law SB1070 Continues

Battle Against Arizona Immigration Law SB1070 Continues

Photo: Battle Against Arizona Immigration Law SB1070 Continues

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The legal battle against Arizona’s harsh SB 1070 immigration law will continue in 2013 although the future of the section of the measure prohibiting housing or transporting undocumented immigrants is on the verge of being settled.

It is expected that the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will issue a ruling soon on this section of the law.

“These two parts of SB1070 were not considered by the U.S. Supreme Court justices when they issued their ruling (upholding much of the Arizona law),” Alessandra Soler, the executive director of the ACLU of Arizona, told Efe on Thursday.

She said that this section was in force from July 2010 up to September 2012, when U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton blocked it in response to a suit filed by the ACLU and other organizations.

Soler said that this section makes it a crime for any person to transport undocumented immigrants.

“We, as plaintiffs, are representing those who transport people all day, and they don’t know if the people have documents or not,” she said.

The activist warned that if this section of the law enters into force it would have serious consequences since it would sanction people such as transportation workers and others for the simple act of doing their jobs.

The main defender of SB1070, Gov. Jan Brewer, appealed Bolton’s decision and asked the 9th Circuit to overturn it.

Both the Mexican and U.S. governments asked the appellate court to reject Arizona’s motion.

“The legal battle against SB1070 is definitely continuing, not only with this regulation, but we’re also expecting a decision by the Supreme Court on day laborers, and we’ll continue documenting abuses under Subsection 2(b),” she said.

Subsection 2(b), also known as the “show me your papers” provision, requires state and local law enforcement officers to question the immigration status of people “they suspect” are in the country illegally.

The ACLU has documented approximately a dozen cases of people who claim they have been the victims of racial profiling under Subsection 2(b).

Read more by HS News Staff →

31 Latinos are Seated in the New Congress, Record Number

31 Latinos are Seated in the New Congress, Record Number

Photo: 113th Congress has 31 Latino members

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The 113th U.S. Congress was established Thursday with the largest number of Hispanic lawmakers in history, a total of 31.

All but three of the Hispanic members are in the House of Representatives and 23 of those 28 lawmakers are Democrats, who also make up the majority in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

In the Senate, incumbents Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) are joined by Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas.

Other Latino newcomers to Congress include Democratic Reps. Gloria Negrete of California and Joaquin Castro of Texas.

“I would be very surprised if the Congress doesn’t act on immigration reform in this year 2013,” Congressman Castro - twin brother of San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro - told CNN on Thursday after being asked about the main challenges that the legislature must face in the new session.

“Now that at least part of the fiscal cliff has been averted ... immigration reform really should be a top priority,” Rep. Castro said, adding that he was “very pleased to see” President Barack Obama make immigration reform a priority.

The immigration issue, however, will create debate among the Hispanic members of Congress with differing opinions from that of Castro such as Ted Cruz, a Cuban American linked to the Tea Party who opposes measures to legalize undocumented students brought to the United States as children.

The calculations on the number of Hispanic legislators for the 2013-2014 session were made by the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, and it does not include the three lawmakers who speak Portuguese or the two Latino observing members of Congress, the representatives from Puerto Rico and the Mariana Islands.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Immigrant Women’s Advocates Applaud New Family Immigration Policy

Immigrant Women’s Advocates Applaud New Family Immigration Policy

Photo: Immigrant Women's Rights

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The National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights (NCIWR) applauds a new Obama Administration immigration policy, as it will advance family unity and integration for immigrant women and their families.

“As advocates for immigrant women, we see the new immigration policy announced this week as a step in the right direction for immigrant women, who are the backbones of immigrant communities across the country,” notes Miriam Yeung, Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), Steering Committee Member of NCIWR alongside the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH).

The new rule issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (HHS) allows undocumented immigrants who are applying for permanent residency to file a “hardship waiver” demonstrating that separation from their families would cause extreme hardship. If approved, applicants can remain in the U.S. while applying for residency. Prior to the changes, applicants would have to return to their birth country and may be barred from entering the United States for ten years or more.

“Although immigrant women contribute to the great social, economic, and cultural fabric of our country, they face numerous injustices in employment, health care, education and immigration policies,” states Jessica González-Rojas, Executive Director of NLIRH. She adds, “this policy will ease a substantial burden for immigrant women, who contribute to the economic stability of their families and cite family reunification as one of the top reasons for coming to the United States.”

The new policy is expected to impact nearly one million immigrants. Over half of all immigrants are women, and women are the drivers of naturalization in their families. In 2010, women represented 55% of all green card recipients and 53% of all naturalized citizens. 

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

10-Ton Holiday Cake Gives Thousands in Mexico a Special Treat

10-Ton Holiday Cake Gives Thousands in Mexico a Special Treat

Photo: 10-Ton Holiday Cake Gives Thousands in Mexico a Special Treat

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Thousands of Mexicans got a taste on Thursday of a “roscon de Reyes” ring-cake weighing more than 9,000 kilograms (19,823 pounds) that was distributed free in this capital’s giant Zocalo square.

The “roscon de Reyes” - known in English as a King cake because it is made around Three Kings Day, Jan. 6 - is a tradition that has been followed at this time of year here since 1999.

This year, the cake was cut into pieces about half a meter (1.5 feet) long and then further divided among the public at stations set up around the plaza.

“It’s very important to maintain this tradition, and what better (place to do so) than in the ... Zocalo,” said Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera, who was in charge of distributing the cake.

Whole families gathered starting early Thursday morning to receive their pieces of cake and chocolate milk from an army of volunteers.

Susana Fuentes told Efe that this kind of event helps foster healthy family activities. “The important thing is for the kids to come and interact,” she said.

The vice president of Mexico’s baking industry association, Antonio Arias, told Efe that more than 2,100 people participated in preparing the cake.

He estimated the cost at around 1 million pesos ($80,000).

Arias said that next year they will try to prepare a cake up to 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) long with the aim of setting a new Guinness World Record.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin America News:  Brazil Expected to have Slowest Growth in Region

Latin America News:  Brazil Expected to have Slowest Growth in Region

Photo: President Dilma Rousseff and Brazil Economy

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Brazil’s average annual economic growth rate between 2011 and 2013 will be the lowest of all Latin American countries, according to analysis published Thursday by the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper.

The daily cited studies by Britain’s Economist Intelligence Unit - the research arm of The Economist Group - and Brazil’s Itau Unibanco bank and Britain’s HSBC, which concurred that Peru’s economy will grow by an average of 6.4 percent during that three-year period.

The second-fastest growing country will be Ecuador (5.5 percent), followed by Chile (5.4 percent), Colombia and Bolivia (5 percent each), Argentina (4.9 percent), Uruguay (4.6 percent), Guyana and Suriname (4.5 percent each), Mexico (3.9 percent) and Paraguay and Venezuela (3.2 percent each).

Brazil, meanwhile, is forecast to grow at an average annual clip of 2.4 percent between 2011 and 2013.

The studies also cite some Asian and European countries projected to grow faster than Brazil, until now considered by many financial analysts as Latin America’s growth engine.

According to the chief economist of Itau Unibanco bank, Ilan Goldfajn, all Latin American countries have been affected by the global crisis but Brazil’s economic slowdown has been more severe due in part to a very low rate of investment - equivalent to just 18 percent of gross domestic product.

In the case of Peru and Ecuador, the two best-performing Latin American countries, investment rates are as high as 25.4 percent of GDP, he said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

For Their Role in Gulf Oil Spill, Transocean Will Pay $1.4 B

For Their Role in Gulf Oil Spill, Transocean Will Pay $1.4 B

Photo: For Their Role in Gulf Oil Spill, Transocean Will Pay $1.4 B

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Swiss drilling company Transocean Ltd. said Thursday it has agreed to pay the U.S. government $1.4 billion for environmental and economic damage caused by the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“As part of this resolution, a Transocean subsidiary has agreed to plead guilty to one misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act for negligent discharge of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and pay $1.4 billion in fines, recoveries and penalties, excluding interest,” the company said in a statement.

“This resolution will result in the Department of Justice concluding its criminal investigation of Transocean and settling its claims for civil penalties against the company relating to the spill from BP’s Macondo well,” the statement said.

The April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, owned and operated by Transocean, killed 11 people and triggered a massive oil spill that polluted a large swath of the northern Gulf of Mexico and U.S. Gulf coast.

Transocean said the settlement will be paid in installments over a period of five years.

The company also pledged to implement new spill prevention measures in consultation with U.S. authorities.

In mid-November, BP Plc agreed to plead guilty to felony manslaughter, environmental crimes and obstruction of Congress and pay more than $4.5 billion in fines and damages for conduct leading to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Woman Accidentally Kills Brother, They Had Been Posing for Photos With Guns

Woman Accidentally Kills Brother, They Had Been Posing for Photos With Guns

Photo: Woman Accidentally Kills Brother, They Had Been Posing for Photos With Guns

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An Arizona man is dead after being accidentally shot in the head by his sister as they posed for photos together, pointing guns at themselves and each other.

On New Year’s Eve, Savannah Ramirez, 19, and her brother, 22-year-old Manuel Ortiz, were posing with guns and posting the photos on Facebook.

The Phoenix siblings had being ringing in the new year with friends, drinking heavily, before they returned to Ortiz’s apartment with two other people.

At the apartment, the pair began playing with guns, posing for photos with them, and making gang signs, something they had apparently done before, as each of their Facebook accounts showed similar images.

As Ramirez played with a gun, she jokingly pointed it at her brother, but no one was laughing when the gun fired and a bullet hit Ortiz in the head.

When emergency responders arrived, Ortiz was pronounced dead immediately.

Ramirez will now likely be charged with manslaughter should tests reveal she had alcohol in her system.

Ortiz’s friends describe him as a kind and funny guy who would do anything to make someone laugh if they were down.

Read more by HS News Staff →

University of Puerto Rico Students Demand Elimination of $800 Annual Fee

University of Puerto Rico Students Demand Elimination of $800 Annual Fee

Photo: University of Puerto Rico

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Students at the state-run University of Puerto Rico on Thursday demanded that Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla eliminate the $800 annual fee imposed last year on top of the standard tuition of $49 per credit hour.

Members of the University Student Confederation issued a communique calling for the elimination of the fee that last year sparked one of the longest students strikes UPR had ever experienced.

According to the leader of the student organization, Hannan Ortiz, the fee forced more than 10,000 UPR students to leave the university, which has 11 campuses and more than 64,000 students.

Ortiz said that the withdrawal of the students “is worrisome at a time when it’s necessary to develop alternatives to the crisis of violence our country is experiencing.”

During last year’s strike, police took control of the access points to UPR a few hours after the end of the two-day paralysis of the facility caused by the students’ rejection of the fee.

The entry of the police onto UPR’s main San Juan campus was a surprise given the unwritten agreement reached years ago not to allow security forces to enter the university grounds. Their presence at the institution had led to serious incidents during the 1970s and ‘80s.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Cinnabon Worker Fakes Robbery to Pocket Cash

LATINO BLOTTER: Cinnabon Worker Fakes Robbery to Pocket Cash

Photo: LATINO BLOTTER: Cinnabon Worker Fakes Robbery to Pocket Cash

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Police in Washington state were investigating what they thought was a robbery of a Cinnabon employee, but they quickly realized it was actually a robbery of a Cinnabon by an employee.

Officers in Kennewick, WA says 31-year-old Mirella Lorena Garcia told them a man approached her on Friday as she walked in the non-public hallway behind the Cinnabon at which she works.

Garcia said the man in the hallway grabbed her and secured her hands with zip ties and took the bank deposit bagshe was carrying for the store and ran off.

As things failed to add up, Garcia was questioned once again by police. As police pressed for additional information, the Cinnabon employee admitted to making up the entire story and pocketing the money.

She is now being charged with second degree theft and was taken to the Benton County Jail.

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Another Brazilian Woman Auctioning Off Virginity

Another Brazilian Woman Auctioning Off Virginity

Photo: Another Brazilian Woman Auctioning Off Virginity

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It seems another young woman is looking to auction off her virginity, and this one is Brazilian as well.

Looking to assist in paying her ailing mother’s medical bills after suffering a stroke recently, 18-year-old Rebecca Bernardo of Sapeacu, Brazil is auctioning off her virginity after have no luck finding a job that could cover the cost of a caretaker.

In an interview with CNN Bernardo said, “There comes a time when you have to make decisions to get what you want. You have to be strong.”

Bernardo admitted to being inspired to do the auction by fellow Brazilian Catarina Migliorini, after the 22-year-old’s virginity auction made international headlines.

So far, Bernardo has not seen bids as high as Migliorini, who sold hers to a Japanese man named “Natsu” for $780,000. Bernadrdo’s highest bid so far has been around $35,000.


Watch her CNN interview below.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Immigration News:  Path to Legal Residency for Undocumented with U.S. Family Made Easier

Immigration News:  Path to Legal Residency for Undocumented with U.S. Family Made Easier

Photo: Immigration News

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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced a new measure that will smooth the road to legal residence for undocumented immigrants with close relatives who are U.S. citizens, a move that could affect about a million people.

DHS said that foreigners without papers who have relatives who are U.S. citizens and are trying to regularize their immigration situation will be able to do so in - and will have to remain outside the United States for - a much shorter time than before.

People requesting an adjustment in their immigration situation will have to verify that spending a long time apart from their spouse, their parents or their children would entail “extreme hardship” for the family, after which they will be allowed to begin regularization procedures without having to leave the country, contrary to the situation up to now.

In the final stages of the process, however, they will still have to return to their country of origin, where they will personally take possession of the papers and, later, they will be able to enter the United States in a completely legal manner.

The measure will enter into force on March 4.

The length of the process to obtain permanent U.S. residence is between six and 18 months, a period during which, up to now, the applicant had to remain in their country of origin.

With the new measure, authorities calculate that the time undocumented immigrants with U.S. citizen relatives will have to remain abroad will be reduced, in some cases, to just a week.

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Flight From Brazil Diverted After Young Woman Dies on Plane

Flight From Brazil Diverted After Young Woman Dies on Plane

Photo: Flight From Brazil Diverted After Young Woman Dies on Plane

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According to police a young woman onboard a flight from Brazil to Texas died mid-flight.

The American Airlines flight had departed Sao Paolo, Brazil just after 1a.m. on Wednesday and was heading to Texas’ Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport when the flight crew alerted Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston they had a sick passenger on board and would need to land before Dallas. It landed in Houston at around 6:30 a.m.

When the plane landed in Houston, the 25-year-old woman, whose name has not been released, was already dead.

Houston police said that 8 hours into the flight, the young woman went into medical distress. Members of the flight crew along with a doctor on board performed unspecified medical procedures but were unable to save her.

Police are still investigating and have not yet determined a cause of death, but stated there were no signs of trauma.

The American Airlines’ plane, Flight 962, was a Boeing 777. Roughly 220 passengers were aboard the plane as well as 14 crew members.

Three hours after landing in Houston, Flight 962 finally left for Dallas.

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Nearly Intact 1,200 Year-Old Funerary Vessel Identified in Oaxaca, Mexico Temples

Nearly Intact 1,200 Year-Old Funerary Vessel Identified in Oaxaca, Mexico Temples

Photo: Effigy Vessel from Aztompa Oaxaca

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Information surrounding an exceptional effigy vessel, found a few months ago in a mortuary temple at the Atzompa Archaeological Zone in Oaxaca, has been released by archaeologists from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).  The ancient city of Atzompa, was one of the centers of the ancient metropolis of Monte Alban.

The ceramic piece with human characteristics is approximately 1,200 year-old, and has been recovered nearly intact with its red, brown and grayish green coloring present. 

According to the description of archaeologist Eduardo Garcia Wigueras, the effigy vessel find is exceptional in that the elaborate costume of the character is represented in detail, consisting of a layer of feathers, tassels, necklace, and earrings.  There are also a number of iconographic references that refer to the name of the person it’s meant to represent. It is likely that the individual personified was known as Tremor ‘8 ‘.

In addition to the effigy vessel found was another smaller red vessel with the representation of a goddess, and the skeletal remains of two individuals.

Another highlight of the effigy vessel is his 34 cm high headdress, which is represented as a reptile with feathers and surrounded by open jaws.

Read more by HS News Staff →

REPORT:  Organized Crime in Mexico Blamed for 12,394 Death in 2012

REPORT:  Organized Crime in Mexico Blamed for 12,394 Death in 2012

Photo: Mexican Marines Fighting Organized Crime

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Violence related to organized crime resulted in 12,394 deaths in Mexico last year, capital daily Milenio said Wednesday.

That total is slightly larger than the 12,284 gangland killings reported in 2011, but short of the modern record of 12,658 homicides, set in 2010, the newspaper noted.

Conflict among rival crime outfits and between the gangs and Mexican security forces has claimed some 70,000 lives since December 2006, when newly inaugurated President Felipe Calderon militarized the struggle against drug trafficking.

The conservative Calderon administration, which left office Nov. 30, said most of the fatalities were people with ties to organized crime.

Unsupported by evidence, the government’s claim infuriated victims’ families and helped give rise to a civic movement that demanded a different approach to crime fighting.

Mexico’s new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, has announced what he describes as a different strategy, though it includes the continuing involvement of the armed forces in law enforcement.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Army Engages in Gun Battle with Narcos, 11 Killed

Mexican Army Engages in Gun Battle with Narcos, 11 Killed

Photo: Mexican Army Shootout with Narcos

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Army soldiers killed 11 suspected cartel gunmen in a clash in the north-central Mexican state of Zacatecas, local media reported.

The fighting broke out in the community of El Fuerte and extended to the town of Francisco Garcia Salinas, the media said, citing a military press release.

The purported criminals, who were riding in several armored SUVs and wielding high-caliber weapons, fired Wednesday on a convoy of army troops carrying out reconnaissance and surveillance tasks on a rural road, according to the report.

Eleven suspected criminals were killed in the ensuing shootout and the troops subsequently confiscated late-model vehicles, AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifles and state-of-the art satellite communications gear.

Attorney General’s Office, forensics and navy personnel and state and federal police were later dispatched to the area to assist in the investigation and help monitor and search for criminal gangs operating in the region.

Due to rising violence in Zacatecas, an army battalion was transferred there last August from a nearby state to provide reinforcement to other military units.

Also Wednesday, the Navy Secretariat said marines detained 18 suspected criminals - 17 males and a female, 12 of them minors - and seized nine rifles, two handguns, a pair of grenade launchers, ammunition, vehicles and cocaine and marijuana from them during an operation on Dec. 31 in Zacatecas state.

The female suspect was carrying a baby in her arms.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombian Singer Juanes Will Perform at Bruce Springsteen Tribute Concert

Colombian Singer Juanes Will Perform at Bruce Springsteen Tribute Concert

Photo: Colombian Singer Juanes Will Perform at Bruce Springsteen Tribute Concert

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Colombia’s Juanes will be the Latino voice at the concert to be held Feb. 8 in Los Angeles to pay tribute to Bruce Springsteen, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences announced Wednesday.

Springsteen, the winner of 20 Grammys, the first in 1985 for “Dancing in the Dark,” will be recognized for his career and his philanthropic activities.

The New Jersey native will be the person of the year at the MusiCares concert, the funds collected from which each year are funneled to beneficial causes.

Juanes, who has sold 15 million albums worldwide, shared the stage last year with The Boss at a tribute in Texas to Woody Guthrie (1912-1967), an influential folk singer who particularly identified with social causes.

Also performing at the Springsteen tribute will be Sting, Elton John, Eddie Vedder, Neil Young, Tom Morello and Tim McGraw, Mumford & Sons and the Alabama Shakes, among other artists.

Juanes, who has won several Latino Grammys and is also known for his humanitarian work through his Mi Sangre Foundation, will continue his Loud & Unplugged tour in 2013.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Dept. of Labor Sues National Council of La Raza Action Fund for Violating Whistleblower Act

Dept. of Labor Sues National Council of La Raza Action Fund for Violating Whistleblower Act

Photo: Whistleblower Protection Act

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The U.S. Department of Labor has sued National Council of La Raza Action Fund Inc., successor to Democracia USA, a nonprofit community engagement and Hispanic voter registration organization in Orlando, for allegedly terminating an employee who raised health concerns about potential exposure to mold and other environmental factors in his workplace.

The lawsuit follows an investigation by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration that found that the company unlawfully and intentionally terminated the worker for engaging in activity protected by Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

The suit seeks to have the employee reinstated and paid back wages, interest, and compensatory and punitive damages, along with expunging adverse information in the employee’s personnel records. Finally, it seeks to bar the employer from commission of future violations of the OSH Act by a permanent injunction.

“Every American worker has the right to raise health concerns regarding potential exposures to environmental hazards, such as mold, without fearing retaliation,” said Cindy Coe, OSHA’s regional administrator in Atlanta. “We will continue to ensure that these basic worker rights are protected and will prosecute every employer found to have violated them.”

In mid-September 2009, the employee began reporting concerns to management about potential exposure to mold and other environmental factors in the workplace, which were making him sick. In November 2009, an air quality test was performed that showed the presence of mold in the workplace. The office was closed for several months. After it reopened, the employee filed a health complaint with the OSHA Tampa Area Office. OSHA conducted an inspection and issued a citation against the employer for violation of OSHA’s housekeeping standard. Upon receipt of the OSHA citation, the employee was informed that his employment was terminated. The employee then filed a whistle-blower complaint with OSHA.

The department is represented in court by its Regional Office of the Solicitor in Atlanta. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division.

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ThursdayJanuary 3, 2013