SAFETY: OSHA prioritizing whistleblower protection program
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) restructured its whistleblowing protection program, in a move that is meant to show how important enforcement has become to the agency.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) restructured its whistleblowing protection program, in a move that is meant to show how important enforcement has become to the agency. OSHAs Office of the Whistleblower Protection Program will now be reporting directly to OSHAs Office of the Assistant Secretary, David Michaels, who is the head of OSHA. Michaels stated that the move is meant to demonstrate the agencys steadfast commitment to strengthening a program that is critically important to the protection of worker rights.
As further evidence of OSHAs commitment to whistleblower protection, it recently ordered one company to pay $190,000 to a truck driver who was terminated shortly after voicing concerns about the safety of his truck. The truck driver had filed a whistleblower complaint with OSHA after being terminated and OSHA ultimately determined that he was fired because of the safety complaint, rather than violation of company rules as the company claimed. The company was also ordered to reinstate the driver to his former position.
Tips: Even if you believe an employees safety complaint is frivolous or has no merit, they are still protected from retaliation based on the complaint theyve made. Be sure you arent disciplining or terminating an employee because they have expressed a concern about a safety issue in your workplace. If you ever have a question about whether your actions may constitute retaliation, be sure to call your Vigilant staff representative beforehand.
This website presents general information in nontechnical language. This information is not legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific management decision, consult legal counsel.