OSHA Releases Newly Revised Whistleblower Complaint Form
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released a newly revised version of its Whistleblower Complaint Form. This form can be accessed online at the OSHA website.
OSHA administers more than 20 whistleblower protection rules, including those that prohibit any retaliation against employees who complain about unhealthy or unsafe conditions in the workplace, or exercise any of their rights afforded to them under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Each law has its own filing deadline, which can be anywhere from 30 to 180 days starting from the time of the retaliatory action, meaning would-be whistleblowers must file their action as soon as possible to avoid having their case be thrown out.
Any whistleblower complaint must allege these four crucial elements:
- The employee engaged in a protected action as defined by whistleblower protection laws, such as reporting a violation of state or federal law
- The employer either knew or suspected the employee had engaged in such a protected action
- The employer took an adverse action against the employee
- The protected action taken by the employee either directly motivated or somehow contributed to the adverse action taken by the employer
Whistleblowers are not required to fill out the online form to begin their case — OSHA also accepts whistleblower complaints made orally (either in person at an OSHA office or over the phone) or in writing in a letter or other method, in any language. If using the new online form, however, would-be whistleblowers must complete the “required” screens and fields — all other fields are optional. OSHA will then follow up with you to determine whether it will investigate. If you do not respond to this follow-up contact, your complaint will be dismissed.
Keep in mind that whistleblower complaints made with OSHA cannot be filed anonymously. OSHA will notify your employer of the complaint if it decides to proceed with the investigation. Therefore, do not share witness names or contact information on the form.
For further information on proceeding with a whistleblower claim, contact a skilled Dallas attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers.