OSHA investigating Atlanta clinic after terminated employee complains about rat droppings, urine

ATLANTA — An Atlanta medical clinic is being investigated by OSHA after a former employee complained about rat droppings and urine in an office.

That employee says she was fired days before she made the formal complaint. The clinic says she wasn’t fired for that reason.

Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes tried reaching out to the clinic for their side of the story by phone and email last week. When she didn’t hear back, Fernandes went to the clinic with cameras rolling.

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When Fernandes showed up at Atlanta Harm Reduction, a non-profit clinic in northwest Atlanta, they weren’t quick to answer her questions.

Moments after leaving, Fernandes received a call from the clinic’s CEO, Dr. Mojgan Zare. She said that the former employee who made complaints to OSHA never brought those complaints up while she worked at the clinic.

“We are in the city of Atlanta. As you may be aware, Atlanta is the second city in United States with rat issues. We do have pest control,” she told Fernandes. “We are working to address the situation.”

Dr. Zare says the employee did bring up complaints about other things before she was terminated.

“All she kept saying was she was worried about switching samples, and that she’s a medical assistant and there’s certain things she’s able to do and certain things she’s not able to do,” Dr. Zare said.

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Channel 2 Action News is not identifying the former employee. She fears she may not be able to get another job.

“I’m thinking I’m going to provide a service in the community and I’m really putting them in harm’s way,” she said.

She believes that she was fired for voicing her concerns about the improper storage of biohazard and sharps containers where needles are disposed.

Dr. Zare says the containers are allowed to be temporarily stored where staff is working because a company was picking them up on the day the former employee snapped a photo.

“It’s not like this is where they’re kept on a daily basis, this is a pick up day,” Dr. Zare said.

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Fernandes spoke with OSHA representatives who say they are investigating all complaints made against the clinic.

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