Iowa safety inspectors say their firings were retaliation

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Two Iowa workplace safety inspectors were fired Tuesday in what they are calling retaliation for blowing the whistle on a hostile environment inside their agency.

The firings of Jason Garmoe and Travis Stein are the latest turmoil at the Division of Labor, which has been rocked by recent personnel turnover and accusations of cronyism and harassment.

The agency accused both men of misconduct that included leaving a state vehicle running for two hours while conducting an inspection — an allegation they call false.

Garmoe and Stein said in interviews with The Associated Press that they were singled out for harsh treatment after providing critical information about agency leaders to state investigators. Both said they feared they would lose their jobs for doing so but were assured that they would be protected.

Labor Commissioner Michael Mauro declined comment.

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