A former employee of a Northwest Side plant display distributor claims he was fired after reporting the company to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Gerard Macek claims he worked at Plants Inc., 2457 W. Montrose Ave., for six years before he was let go, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court. The company offers plant displays to commercial clients and home owners, according to its website.
In late June 2013, Macek’s supervisor asked him to apply pesticides to a customer’s display, the suit claims. Macek claims he told his supervisor he wasn’t licensed to apply pesticides. He also reminded her the company advertises to its customers that it does not use pesticides, and doing so is false advertising, the suit alleges.
Illinois requires anyone who applies pesticides to have the proper license, according to the Illinois Department of Agriculture website.
In July 2013, Macek filed a complaint with OSHA, claiming Plants, Inc. permits the unlicensed use of pesticides. His supervisor and the company became aware of the complaint, the suit claims, and in August 2013, Macek was fired. The suit alleges Macek’s complaint triggered his termination.
Plants, Inc. could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.
The two-count suit claims Plants, Inc. violated the Illinois Whistleblower Act and that Macek was also unlawfully fired for telling his supervisor that they were falsely advertising the company as “green” by allowing pesticide use.
Macek is asking for his job back, back pay and legal fees.