OSHA to Begin Handling TFA Whistleblower Complaints

On September 11, the United States Department of Labor announced any whistleblower complaints submitted under the Taxpayer First Act (TFA) would now be handled by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The TFA was implemented along with a large-scale IRS reform bill passed in July 2018. Among other things, the Act created the opportunity for retaliation claims for any employees terminated or unfairly disciplined because they reported information (or otherwise assisted in an investigation) regarding violations of internal revenue or tax fraud laws, or because they underpaid on their taxes.

About TFA whistleblower claims

The process for TFA whistleblower claims will be very similar to claims submitted under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a category of claims also overseen by OSHA. Any employee who finds success in a TFA claim through OSHA will be entitled to compensation designed to “make the employee whole,” including compensatory damages, reinstatement to their position from which they were wrongfully terminated, 200 percent of back pay and all lost benefits (with interest), and additional special damages. Employers, meanwhile, are not allowed to require employees to arbitrate these kinds of claims through pre-dispute arbitration agreements or contracts.

This provides just one more method through which employees are able to take action against employers after wrongful termination or other forms of retaliation, adding to Sarbanes-Oxley and the False Claims Act. Whistleblowers who report through the TFA receive the same types of federal protections they would have by using other types of reporting methods.

If you believe you have been the victim of whistleblower retaliation, it is important to take legal action as soon as possible to protect your rights. Contact an experienced attorney at Kardell Law Group to learn more about the steps you should take immediately.