FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — Sick employees will soon be getting some much-needed relief following a battle over working conditions at the Broward County Courthouse.
On Wednesday, the Broward State Attorney’s Office ordered the county to move 150 employees into an office building across S.E. 6th street.
Employees, including judges and prosecutors, have maintained complaints for years that dangerous levels of mold, asbestos and bacteria inside the building and air vents are making them sick.
Symptoms include respiratory problems, rashes, cancer and even death, some have claimed.
“The condition of the building has deteriorated so badly that our employees are sick,” said Monica Hofheinz, the Executive Director with the State Attorney’s Office. “They need to get out of a sick building and that’s all we’re trying to do. Find them a place to go, where they can be in a clean environment and breathe good air.”
The agency has now instructed Broward officials to secure the 14th floor of the privately owned 110 Tower and begin laying out furniture, as well as phone and computer lines, in the new space.
They also ordered the county to expedite opening the courthouse’s New Tower, built next to the old courthouse in downtown Ft. Lauderdale, which has seen a delay in construction due to a dispute with the contractor, as reported by the Sun-Sentinel.
On Tuesday, workers and judges begged the commission to open the new building quicker but were told a move-in is still months away.
“We shouldn’t have to be like this in this place,” said Asst. State Attorney Ross Weiner, who’s been in the building for seven years and sick most of the time. “I get a cold every four to five weeks, and for the last three years, I’ve been suffering with migraines. I went to my doctor and I tried three different medications. None of them worked.”
While some of the workers will move across the street, the building doesn’t accommodate 150 people.
The new $213 million, 20-story Broward County Courthouse was originally expected to be completed at the end of 2015.