In August, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a variety of new policies to apply a new process that aim to create earlier, more efficient resolutions of whistleblower disputes.
The new process will be used alongside regional alternative dispute resolution programs (ADR) as part of OSHA’s overall enforcement of whistleblower policies. ADR programs give parties involved in whistleblower claims the ability to negotiate settlements with the help of an OSHA neutral representative who has significant expertise in the subject matter of the case and whistleblower investigations in general.
The new ADR program went through pilot testing between October 2012 and September 2013 in two of 10 OSHA regions (regions 5 and 9). The pilot program was a success and proved that an early resolution process can help parties find better mutual and voluntary outcomes in whistleblower cases. Additionally, the pilot program demonstrated that having a dedicated staff focusing on facilitating the settlement negotiation process helped provide some of the effective and efficient services respondents and complainants both strongly desire.
A representative from OSHA said the new ADR process could be “a valuable alternative” to an investigation and litigation process that may otherwise quickly become expensive and time consuming. Ultimately, the process gives people more control over their claims and removes some of the headaches previously associated with them.
For more information and legal advice on alternative dispute resolution in whistleblower cases and related issues, speak with a trusted Dallas lawyer at Whistleblower Law for Managers.