The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a surge of whistleblower complaints to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. A significant portion of these complaints are related to claims of retaliation against people who blew the whistle against insufficient health and safety protocols in the wake of the pandemic.
Recent reports indicate OSHA has fallen far behind in processing these claims, haven resolved only two percent of the retaliation reports it’s received against COVID whistleblowers.
A report from the National Employment Law Project thoroughly outlines the administration’s shortcomings with its handling of COVID cases and some of the measures it must take to improve.
According to the report, there were 1,744 COVID-19-related retaliation claims filed by workers from the start of the pandemic through August 9, and about 54 percent of those complaints were either closed without investigation or dismissed. Only 20 percent of the complaints were earmarked for inspection, and only two percent of the complaints had been resolved within that time period.
The report also investigated demographic issues with the complaints, determining that the failure on the part of OSHA to appropriately protect whistleblowers has been disproportionately damaging to black workers. Black workers were more likely than white workers to work in hazardous conditions, and twice as likely as white workers to race retaliation from employers or have unresolved COVID-19 concerns.
There is a 30-day deadline for workers to file retaliation claims, but this has long been argued by whistleblower advocates to be a flawed statute of limitations, as it automatically disqualifies many complaints.
For more information about filing a complaint with OSHA or the other legal options you have if you have information about poor COVID-19 safety protocols within your company or organization, contact an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group.