New Agreement Strengthens Whistleblower Protections

A new Memorandum of Understanding will enable OSHA and National Labor Relations Board to more effectively enforce related laws and protect workers' rights.

Late last month, the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board announced that the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the board have signed an agreement to strengthen the agencies’ partnership. Focused on whistleblower protections, the agreement outlines procedures for information-sharing, referrals, training and outreach that explain federal anti-retaliation protections.

The Memorandum of Understanding will also enable OSHA and the board to cooperate more effectively and efficiently to enforce related laws and protect workers’ rights.

whistleblower protections
(Image: Adobe Stock / Sashkin)

“Everyone should be able to exercise their legal rights in the workplace without fear of losing their job or other forms of punishment,” explained Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “Our partnership with the National Labor Relations Board will expand both of our agencies’ impact and effectiveness in protecting workers who raise concerns about workplace violations or retaliation.”

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The collaboration will also create mechanisms to increase overall awareness on the rights and remedies available under federal anti-retaliation and whistleblower protection laws. The agencies have jointly created a fact sheet, “Building Safe & Healthy Workplaces by Promoting Worker Voice” to help workers better understand what recourse they have when their rights are violated.

“Workplace safety can be a matter of life and death for workers and so the ability to report workplace hazards without fear of retaliation is critically important,” said National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Jennifer A. Abruzzo. “Today’s MOU will bolster protections for workers to speak out about unsafe working conditions by strengthening coordination between OSHA and the NLRB on our enforcement efforts.”

To learn more about whistleblower protections, visit OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program website.

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