The federal government has filed a lawsuit against the owner of a now-closed beef jerky operation, claiming he fired an employee who called 911 to help a co-worker with a severed thumb. The U.S. Department of Labor is seeking back wages and punitive damages for the employee.

John Bachman is the owner of Lone Star Western Beef, formerly located in Fairmont, W.V. According to CBS News, the accident occurred in July 2014, when a bandsaw severed part of an employee’s right thumb. His co-worker applied pressure to the wound while using her cell phone to call 911. But before responders could answer, Bachman allegedly ordered her to hang up, and she was fired two days later. The lawsuit claims that the injured worker was taken to an urgent care center by a supervisor. The employee was then transferred to a hospital, where attempts to reattach the thumb were unsuccessful.

The co-worker, Michele Butler-Savage, told a U.S. agriculture inspector later that day that Bachman did not fully clean or sanitize the area of the plant where the accident happened. She also mentioned a lack of personal protective equipment. After she was fired, she filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which found the company violated federal whistleblower protections for workers who report violations of the law.

Bachman did not respond to CBS about the lawsuit. The company has since relocated to Reading, Pa.

Source: CBS News