Whistleblower VS Toyota of Poway

author: 
Whistleblower

September 17, 2011

State of California
Department of Industrial Relations
Attn: Christine Baker, Acting Director
P.O. Box 420603
San Francisco, CA 94142

RE:
RCI Case Name: Whistleblower v. Premier Automotive of CA, LLC a California limited Liability company, dba Toyota of Poway

RCI Case No: 20996 LBRCI

Ms. Baker,

I ask that you review the decision that was given in my case against my employer Toyota of Poway. The company clearly violated labor Code Sections 6310 and 1102.5 in my dismissal and is unjustly trying to hide behind FMLA as a reason for termination.

I would first and foremost ask that you to consider the letters to Toyota of Poway’s Insurance Companies in regards to myself and the closure of the Used Car Building at Toyota of Poway. These letters both dated February 25, 2010 are clearly evidence as misleading, untrue and fraudulent. One would expect that such blatant false information would automatically discredit all their statements and reports that followed as would be expected if this case was heard by a jury. The building was not closed until I finally would not allow employees to enter on around March 12, 2010. If I had not taken the action of closing this hazardous building and risking my job as a whistleblower, one must ask at what date in the future would Toyota of Poway closed the building as they had informed their Insurance carriers.

The actions taken against me by Toyota of Poway shortly after they received the fax from OHSA were clearly retaliation for my protected actions. The Department of Industrial relations report leaves out the facts that I was ordered into Vincent Castro office and told to hand over my store keys and that employees would follow me to my house to take my demo vehicle. These actions sent a clear message to other used car employees that if you speak about the unsafe working conditions you will be retaliated against. The fact that Toyota of Poway allowed not only their workers, customers and employee family members to enter the buildings after reporting their closure to Insurance companies is inexcusable.

California law clearly states “Any person who makes or causes to be made any knowingly false or fraudulent material statement or material representation for the purpose of obtaining or denying workers compensation benefits or payments is guilty of a felony.” The fact that Toyota of Poway knowingly provided false information to their Insurance Companies is not mentioned in the decision letter dated September 12, 2011. These false letters while addressed to Toyota of Poway Insurance Companies, have made their way into the hands of the doctors evaluating are claims for the Insurance Companies. These letters have caused delays and denial of treatment for myself and other injured employees of Toyota of Poway easily extending us past any FMLA guidelines.

I also ask that you review the three building reports performed on the building and the overall review of the conditions as reported by the Centers for Disease Control Niosh Division. Two of the reports both clearly show what is considered a Sick Damp Building. (Mold Inspection Sciences Report & Andrew Bryson Report) These reports when paired with the building inspection report performed by Gold Coast Flood Restorations clearly show that the estimated 2500sq foot building contained many hazards as a result of lack of maintenance over a period of time. The mold inspection report performed on the building at the request of Toyota of Poway’s attorneys by Ninyo and Moore is both incomplete and misleading and does not come close to inspection standards and reporting in the Indoor Air Quality Field. This report which discloses that they only inspected areas of the building not scheduled for remediation, also attempts to split the building into a Northern and Southern portions. This report has also been inserted into are workers compensation cases and only builds upon the fraudulent groundwork provided by the letters to Toyota of Poway’s Insurance companies. I as well as my coworkers worked thru out this 2500sq foot building without any warnings or any portion cordoned off as Toyota of Poway suggests.

While the Department of Industrial Relations findings report on page 2 states that the building was cleared by Ninyo and Moore on April 17, 2010, the report fails to mention that the building was closed two more times after that date for further remediation. These closures came as a result of complaints from customers and employees. The remediation of the building would actually continue well into September of 2010, as evidenced in the response letter from Arent Fox to Cathy Derham. The amount of time and money that it has taken to get the building repaired clearly illustrates that the building should not have been inhabited by workers starting in October 15, 2008.

The System of Workers compensation is failing those that it was designed to protect. I have now waited over nine months for approval of tests recommended by Dr. Green in his December 29 preliminary medical evaluation report. In this evaluation the form is clearly marked condition is related to claim injury. The form also clearly shows that he is requesting a Dental QME (Qualified Medical Evaluation) a CT scan of the sinus and a pulmonary function test.

Toyota of Poway has shown a complete disregard for their employee’s health by allowing them to be placed in the Used Car Building starting around October 15, 2008. I and other employees were informed by our General Manager Rick Gallegher, only after he became ill with conditions; often found in Sick Damp Buildings that he believed the building was the cause of the many health complaints from those working in the used car building. Mr. Gallegher informed used car employees and others that he had originally closed the building in September 2006 as a result of water intrusion and mold growth. and that none of the repairs required had been done. Mr. Gallegher contacted me directly numerous times while he was in the hospital requesting that I document the conditions in the building with a camera. The closure of the used car building in September of 2006 is around the same date that San Diego Gas and Electric Gas stop supplying natural gas to the building as the gas main was shut off do to a leak in the building. This allowed the buildings condition to worsen as unregulated temperatures provided an excellent environment for molds known to cause adverse health effects to the buildings inhabitants.

I hope that after a proper review of this information and the contacting of witnesses, I supplied in my original complaint that justice can be served not only for myself but the other injured workers of Toyota of Poway. Companies can not be allowed to knowingly place employees in harms way, and then insert fradulantent information into their injury claims to aid in their concealment and denial. Toyota of Poway has shown no respect for their injured workers or the system of laws which govern the state of California. I urge you to rule on the clear facts presented in my case and rule that Toyota of Poway’s attempts to mislead the State of California Industrial Relations, there Insurance companies and the employees of Toyota of Poway is a clear violation of protections afforded to whistleblowers. Toyota of Poway clearly put profits ahead of the safety and health of their employees.

The shifting of costs in the workers compensation system from the Insurance companies to the taxpayers of the state of California was recently addressed in Senate bill 621 which seeks to prohibit Insurers from overriding a Physicians opinion. The current state of the workers compensation system in California is perhaps described best by State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones “It’s like the fox guarding the henhouse” The failure to protect my rights as a whistleblower, would send a clear message to the Insurance Companies, Corporations and Defense Attorneys that inserting false information into workers compensation cases is the best way to conceal your true actions. The fact that three managers from the used car building as well as four salespeople have symptoms related to the sick building is not that of chance.

Several employees including myself have received numerous evaluations linking are symptoms to the buildings poor condition. The fact that Dr. Green has not been compensated in my case further shows why so many doctors are reluctant to treat injured workers in the state of California. It is of my opinion that the Insurance Company Corvel has delayed Dr. Green’s payment after he notified me in his report on page 10 “References the employees work site located in a building which a portion was cordoned off and not used from the commencement of occupancy by the insured because of the poor condition. Insured has relocated employees”

I hope that after a proper review of this information and the contacting of witnesses, I supplied in my original complaint that justice can be served not only for myself but other injured workers of Toyota of Poway.

Companies can not be allowed to knowingly place employees in harms way, and then insert fraudulent information into their injury claims to aid in their concealment and denial. Toyota of Poway has shown no respect for their injured workers or the system of laws which govern the state of California. I urge you to rule on the clear facts presented in my case and rule that Toyota of Poway’s attempts to mislead the State of California Industrial Relations, their Insurance Companies and the employees of Toyota of Poway is a clear violation of protections afforded to whistleblowers. Toyota of Poway clearly put profits ahead of the safety and health of their employees.

Watch The Video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRdzRlSZe2Q