Workers who “blow the whistle” on prohibited or unlawful practices in the workplace as well as safety and health discrimination play an important role in assuring compliance with federal laws. On July 7, 2010, OSHA unveiled a dedicated Web address for its whistleblower protection program. The site is designed to provide workers, employers, and the public with easily accessible information about the 18 federal whistleblower protection statutes that OSHA currently administers.
The Web page will provide information about worker rights and provisions under each of the whistleblower statutes and regulations that OSHA enforces. Additionally, program fact sheets and information are available that discuss how one can file a retaliation complaint with OSHA. This Web page will continue to be accessible through OSHA’s Web site, www.osha.gov, by clicking on the “Whistleblower Protection” link.
Under Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (the OSH Act), workers may file discrimination complaints with OSHA if they believe their employer has retaliated against them for exercising a broad range of rights protected by the OSH Act. These rights include filing safety or health complaints with OSHA and seeking an OSHA inspection, participating in an OSHA inspection, participating or testifying in any proceeding related to occupational safety or health, or reporting an injury or illness to their employer.
“OSHA doesn’t work unless workers feel secure in exercising their rights,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels. “This Web page is part of OSHA’s promise to stand by those workers who have the courage to come forward when they know their employer is cutting corners on safety and health.”
Workers may also file whistleblower complaints with OSHA if they believe their employer has retaliated against them for engaging in protected activities related to air carrier safety, asbestos in schools, commercial motor carrier safety or security, corporate fraud, environmental, nuclear safety, pipeline safety, public transportation agency, rail safety or security, and several other statutes. For each of the statutes covered by OSHA, the Web page will provide workers with information on timeframes for filing, the complaint investigation process, case settlement, reinstatement, pay back wages, restoration of benefits, and other possible remedies to ensure justice for the worker.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to assure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.