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OSHA’s Whistle-Blower Program

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in Employment Law,Firing,Human Resources

OSHA’s special whistle-blower program is designed to protect workers who report employer wrongdoing or dangerous conditions. Under the program, employers may not retaliate or discriminate against workers who file complaints with OSHA, seek or participate in OSHA inspections, or participate or testify in any inspection-related proceeding.

“Discrimination” can include:

  • Firing or laying off
  • Assigning to undesirable shifts
  • Blacklisting
  • Demoting
  • Denying overtime or promotion
  • Disciplining
  • Denying benefits
  • Failing to hire or rehire
  • Intimidation
  • Transfer or reassigning work
  • Reducing pay or hours

Note: Beginning in 2012, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act amends the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to make it easier for employees to blow the whistle on their employers.

Dodd-Frank gives OSHA the authority to quickly in­­ves­­tigate whistle-blower allegations and employee retaliation claims. Em­­­­­ployees now have longer to file complaints—180 days instead of 90 days from the date of the violation or date the em­­ployee learned of the violation. OSHA must provide a copy of the complaint to the employer and the Securities and Exchange Commission within 20 days, and issue findings within 60 days.

For more information, go to www.osha.gov.

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