whistleblower protection

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of more than 20 whistleblower statutes protecting employees who report violations of various airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, motor vehicle safety, healthcare reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, and securities laws.

An employer cannot take an adverse action against employees, such as: firing or laying off, demoting, denying overtime or promotion, or reducing pay or hours, for engaging in activities protected by OSHA’s whistleblower laws.

What Is Retaliation?

Retaliation occurs when an employer (through a manager, supervisor, or administrator) fires an employee or takes any other type of adverse action against an employee for engaging in protected activity.

An adverse action is an action which would dissuade a reasonable employee from raising a concern about a possible violation or engaging in other related protected activity. Retaliation can have a negative impact on overall employee morale.

Because an adverse action can be subtle, it may not always be easy to spot. Examples of adverse actions include, but are not limited to:

  • Firing or laying off
  • Demoting
  • Denying overtime or promotion
  • Disciplining
  • Denying benefits
  • Failing to hire or rehire
  • Intimidation or harassment
  • Making threats
  • Reassignment to a less desirable position or actions affecting prospects for promotion (such as excluding an employee from training meetings)
  • Reducing pay or hours
  • More subtle actions, such as isolating, ostracizing, mocking, or falsely accusing the employee of poor performance
  • Blacklisting (intentionally interfering with an employee’s ability to obtain future employment)
  • Constructive discharge (quitting when an employer makes working conditions intolerable due to the employee's protected activity)

For help is creating an anti-retaliation program, visit: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3905.pdf

Source: OSHA.gov

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