OSHA Provides Five-Point Guidelines to Prevent Whistleblower Retaliation

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently released a set of recommendations to help companies prevent whistleblower retaliation from occurring in their workplaces. The agency suggests training all employees about their right to report any such issues that arise to OSHA or another appropriate agency. It also encourages employers to implement programs that allow employees to easily report noncompliance with safety and health laws and to prevent retaliation against any employees that do speak up.

The five specific points OSHA recommends be a part of any anti-retaliation program include the following:

  • Having a clear, well-communicated system in place for the company to resolve any reported concerns that employees bring up
  • Employing managers who are committed to anti-retaliation practices, who lead by example when handling whistleblower claims, who instill a culture of encouragement with regard to reporting concerns and who respect the confidentiality of those who report
  • Having a system in place for receiving and responding any reports of retaliation that come through from employees
  • Developing anti-retaliation best practices for managers and employees alike
  • Giving oversight to the entire program, including regular monitoring or audits to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the program

OSHA works with companies to offer several ways to develop programs that accomplish every one of these goals, including having multiple confidential (or anonymous) channels through which employees can submit their complaints, a system of follow-up interviews with any employee who submits a complaint and establishing a series of anonymous surveys of employees to assess the company’s anti-retaliation program. The agency also recommends that employers incentivize reporting in some way.

For more information about the steps your company should take to prevent whistleblower retaliation, contact an experienced attorney at Kardell Law Group today.