West Palm Beach Social Security Office shuts down over employee health concerns
23 workers joined to file suit
10:07 PM, May 24, 2013
11:32 PM, May 24, 2013
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It's a government building thousands of people use every week. But the Social Security Administration building on Congress Avenue in suburban West Palm Beach has been shut down for more than three months. Customers have been left with unanswered questions.
The Contact 5 Investigators are getting answers and discovered it's more than just a routine closure.
Customers have showed up at the Congress Avenue location to find a temporarily closed sign. They've had to do business at other locations, like Delray Beach, where they're facing long waits and long lines that surround the perimeter of the building.
While customers haven't been allowed inside the Congress Ave location, construction crews have. The Contact 5 Investigators discovered it's not your typical renovation project going on inside.
Back in November, some of the government workers claimed the building was making them sick. They were reportedly complaining of side effects like headaches and breathing problems. Some of them even had to call 911 from inside the building.
911 Operator: "She's conscious and breathing now?"
Caller: "Yes, yes she is. She's currently getting some fresh air out our back door but it's not helping."
The building was shut down, cleaned and reopened. But the complaints continued. The building was eventually shut down again and employees were sent to work at other locations.
Now, 23 workers have gathered together, hired an attorney, and filed suit against the current and former property managers. They include three companies that are located in Florida and Ohio. Workers are seeking damages in excess of $15,000.
The attorney for the workers claim the building was a health hazard. He claims some of the air units were working without filters, that air ducts were disconnected and blowing dust and fiberglass into the building and that a mold problem back in 2009 wasn't cleaned up property.
The federal government ran it's own mold and air tests but didn't find anything out of the ordinary.
However the building was shut down. There's no date set for when it will be reopened and Social Security officials said they're now looking for a temporary office in West Palm Beach.
After repeated attempts, the companies and the attorneys involved would not speak on camera about the legal filing.