by James P. Thomas, Esq., Pepper Hamilton, Pittsburgh
In addition to enforcing the Occupational Safety and Health Act, OSHA is responsible for investigating whistle-blower retaliation complaints under 22 separate federal statutes. They cover a wide range of subjects, including asbestos in schools, commercial motor and carrier safety, corporate fraud, environmental safeguards and more. They all prohibit employers from taking adverse employment action against an employee for engaging in “protected activity” under the particular statute.
In 2014, OSHA received 3,050 whistle-blower retaliation complaints—an increase of 58% since 2005. In light of recent OSHA initiatives and judicial trends, these numbers will only continue to rise.
In 2010, OSHA unveiled www.whistleblowers.gov, a website that informs employees about their rights under each of the 22 whistle-blower statutes OSHA enforces. As of late 2013, retaliation complaints c...(register to read more)