OSHA Expands Whistleblower Liability

Over the six years from 2012 to 2018, the number of whistleblower complaints that were filed through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration increased by 74 percent. This is thanks in large part due to increasing efforts by the federal government to protect whistleblowers and establish infrastructure for them to submit their reports.

Investigating OSHA complaints

Any employer who receives an OSHA whistleblower complaint will face a significant investigation and enforcement that could, in some circumstances, last years. Even if the complaint ends up being meritless, the employer will still be investigated.

An OSHA investigator will submit a letter to the employer outlining that a complaint has been filed and summarizing the complaint to the employer. The letter will request the employer to respond within 20 days. Employers must be completely truthful and thorough in their responses. They will be allowed to request more than 20 days to perform competent investigations and to seek outside counsel.

When OSHA receives the response letter, it will submit the letter to the complainant and ask for a response from them. If the complainant does not respond, the complaint will be subject to summary dismissal. But if the case proceeds, OSHA will then move on to investigation, which will involve requesting additional documents and interviewing anyone who may have witnessed the action(s) in question. With such a large backlog of cases, it might take months or even years before the investigation can begin. But 95 percent of all complaints will be dismissed for various reasons.

For more information about the OSHA whistleblower program, contact an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group today.