Whistleblower Protections: Workers’ Rights, Retaliation, and OSHA Procedures

Posted by Michael E. Lyons | Jul 30, 2019 | 0 Comments

In the United States, bad behavior in workplace safety and corporate management have long been themes in movies, books, and cautionary tales. In 1970, Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to help create and enforce labor standards around the country. OSHA's standards cover everything from safety to financial security to transparency for customers and investors. However, there are still cases where OSHA's standards are not met, sometimes with illegal or life-threatening consequences.

When bad behavior occurs, many employees feel an ethical and moral obligation to report their company's misbehavior to the federal government. Unfortunately, many of these same employees decide not to file a complaint because they worry they will lose their job, or a manager or supervisor will make their work life miserable.

Luckily, OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program protects employees in every industry who report illegal or unsafe conduct. If you or a loved one have been discriminated against or fired because you exercised your rights under the OSH Act, you need a qualified attorney to help you find the proper reparations.

A “whistleblower” is someone who reports workplace OSHA violations to the federal government.

When you think of the corporate world as a giant sports arena, every “team” must play by the rules. Like referees on a football field, employees who notice illegal or unsafe behavior can “blow the whistle” to alert the proper authorities to a bad situation.

This doesn't mean that anyone can report a situation they don't like. However, an employee does not have to know that an employer has violated an OSHA standard – they just need to notice a lack of compliance and file the proper complaint within the specified time limit. At that point, OSHA may conduct an onsite inspection to determine whether a violation exists.

To file a complaint, a worker or representative can fill out an online form, fax or mail a printed version to their local OSHA office, or call 1-800-321-OSHA to discuss workplace issues, ask any questions about the situation, and file a full complaint if necessary.

Whistleblowing is not illegal – in fact, whistleblowers are protected under federal law.

One of the main hesitations many workers have against reporting their employer is the fear that they will lose their job, or otherwise put their career in jeopardy. The Occupational Safety and Health Act includes protections for employees who report issues. Known as the Whistleblower Protection Program, this program protects employees under twenty-two different federal laws.

If your employer or supervisor has retaliated against you for exercising your OSH Act rights, you may be entitled to compensation.

It is illegal for an employer to fire, demote, threaten, deny a promotion or benefits to, or otherwise take any “adverse action” against an employee because they have filed a complaint with OSHA.

According to OSHA's Whistleblower Statutes, a worker who has been discriminated against because of an OSHA complaint may have a right to certain legal remedies. Compensation might include a financial settlement, backpay for lost hours, reinstatement in a role if they were fired illegally, and/or other damages if the case demands it.

Civilian or military, entry-level or C-suite, any case of workplace discrimination requires an experienced, qualified attorney to fight for the cause. If you believe you were unfairly fired, demoted, or otherwise retaliated against after exercising your rights to a safe and legal workplace, our team can help.

Call our office at 301-952-9000 to learn more about our employment discrimination services. At Patriots Law Group, we fight tooth and nail to help our clients get the resolutions they deserve.

DISCLAIMER:  The information above is for general informational purposes only.  No attorney-client relationship is intended or created by this information.  Each individual situation is different and therefore a formal in-person consultation is necessary before any specific advice may be relied upon as appropriate and accurate for a given situation. Please call Patriots Law Group at 301-952-9000 to set up a consultation if you wish to obtain specific legal advice you may rely upon. We serve clients anywhere in the world, with in-person consultations available at our Suitland, MD office — right next to Andrews Air Force Base — for clients in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. 

About the Author

Michael E. Lyons

“As a veteran, I bring my core values of service, integrity, and excellence to every client, every case, every time.” Background: Michael E. Lyons (“Mike”) handles cases in Maryland and Washington D.C. fr...


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