Search Site
Menu
OSHA Clarifies Standards for Whistleblower Investigations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a new memo to clarify the investigative standards it has in place for its whistleblower investigations. There are more than 20 whistleblower protection laws subject to OSHA enforcement. The agency investigates whistleblower retaliation complaints that come through and puts forth merit findings whenever there is any reasonable cause to believe that retaliation did occur.

The memo included four key clarifying elements of what exactly constitutes reasonable cause:

  • Each element of a violation should have its own supporting evidence. However, there does not necessarily need to be as much evidence as a trial would require. Instead, after going through all of the evidence presented by the complainant and the employer, OSHA must simply believe a reasonable judge would rule in the complainant’s favor if it, too, is to rule in favor of the complainant.
  • The conclusion of an OSHA investigation must be objective, taking into account all relevant facts and laws affecting the case. There does not need to be conclusive evidence stating a violation did occur — the standard is merely based on what a reasonable judge would decide.
  • OSHA has a greater responsibility to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe the presence of a violation than the plaintiff’s responsibility to demonstrate a prima facie allegation that would be enough to launch an investigation.
  • OSHA is not necessarily required to resolve all possible pieces of conflicting evidence or make conclusive determinations as to the credibility of a complainant to find reasonable cause to believe there was a violation.

If you have any questions about any of these elements of an OSHA whistleblower claim, contact Steve Kardell at Whistleblower Law for Managers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Honors
Our Office
  • Dallas Office
    4514 Cole Ave
    #600
    Dallas, Texas 75205
    Phone: 214-306-8045
    Fax: 469-729-9926
Testimonials
  • "Steve Kardell was terrific in representing me in some very adversarial discussions with Citigroup and also later represented me in my testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission."  -Richard Bowen, Citigroup Whistleblower

  • "Incredible knowledge of employee related concerns and equally brilliant knowledge of health care regulations, standards of practice. I would recommend this firm to anyone."  -V.B.

  • "Reaching out to Steve Kardell was the best decision I made. His ability to provide immediate insight and direction was very powerful, and a huge relief during a very stressful time period. For anyone struggling with a whistleblower situation, I would highly recommend at least speaking with Steve. After a 10 minute call with him, I had a better understanding of what I was dealing with. Even better, he gave me some immediate hope. In the end Steve did a better job than I thought was possible. Steve was able to get in contact with people in my organization, that I didn’t have access to. Because of his years of experience, he already has contacts in many organizations in Dallas. The entire situation was handled peacefully. I was impressed by his ability to “keep the peace”–rather than creating a battle with the organization. The reason I didn’t reach out to a lawyer initially, was because I thought it would mean an immediate end to any hope of a positive relationship with the company. Steve was able to address my concerns, and in the end I was able to continue to work for them."  -KS

  • "Never thought my career would end like it did after 30 years of service. I was part of the first round of the so called reduction of force. I asked myself how can I be part of this with 30 years of seniority. How did they pick these 90 plus employees? Now, the culture of this organization made you question every decision they made. It wasn’t what you knew it’s was a culture of who you know. Nonetheless, I did not accept their severance package. I immediately starting looking for an attorney who would take on my case. After the initial call to Steve I had hope again. He was open and honest about everything and reassured me he would do his best for me, and he did. I had an awesome outcome. Thanks Steve you’re the best."  -S.S.

FOLLOW US
Facebook Twitter Linkedin RSS Feed JD Supra