Whistleblower Retaliation – Occupational Safety and Health Administration

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), 29 U.S.C. §660(c), Section 11(c), provides protection for employees who exercise their rights guaranteed under OSHA. These rights include filing a safety and health complaint with OSHA and participating in an OSHA inspection. Employees who report violations of workplace safety are provided whistleblower protection under OSHA.

OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program enforces the whistleblower provisions of at least 21 whistleblower laws regarding the employees who report violations of workplace safety in a wide range of industries where the employee’s work involves public safety, including airlines, commercial motor carriers, the manufacture of consumer products, the environment, financial and securities, food safety, health care, nuclear, oil and gas pipelines, public transportation, railroad and maritime laws.

Protected activity by an employee includes filing an OSHA complaint, participation in safety and health activities, reporting a work-related injury participating in an inspection or talking to an inspector, seeking access to employer exposure and injury records, and raising a safety or health complaint with the employer. An employer cannot retaliate by taking adverse action against an employee. Retaliatory action which is protected under OSHA includes firing or laying off, blacklisting, demoting, failure to hire or rehire, making threats and reducing pay or hours.

Damages awarded for OSHA whistleblower complaints can include back wages and employment benefits, and reinstatement. One critical part of the OSHA whistleblower laws is timing. Complaints must be reported to OSHA within a very short period of time following the retaliatory action against the employee whistleblower. This time depends on each law but can be as little as 30 days from the action taken against the employee.

We represent whistleblower employees who are retaliated against by their employers in violation of OSHA. Call Abramson Employment Law at 267-470-4742 or contact us online to discuss your legal options.

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