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An Overview of the OSHA Whistleblower Law

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The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks PC, represents employees in a variety of situations, and we have acted as whistleblower, retaliation, discrimination and work sexual harassment attorneys in Camden County and nearby areas. One situation that employees sometimes face is working in an unsafe environment, and fear of reprisal if they complain about their unsafe workplace. Employees have a right to feel safe at their workplace, and one institution that enforces safety measures for employees is OSHA.

What is OSHA?

OSHA is an acronym for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It was formed in 1970 as a section of the United States Department of Labor. It helps to protect safe working conditions for employees in the private sector.

What is an OSHA whistleblower complaint?

An OSHA whistleblower complaint can be filed with OSHA, is when an employee notices something that their employer is doing which may affect the health or safety of the employees.

Who can be a whistleblower?

Almost any private sector employee can act as a whistleblower. However, it is important to note that an allegation cannot be filed anonymously. Members of the public sector are not covered by OSHA, including anyone working for their local municipality or county. Each state has their own occupational and safety programs in place, as well as the federal government. A whistleblower is protected from retaliatory actions by their employer.

What is the window of time to file a complaint?

Depending on the nature of the complaint, the time limit to file varies. Violations against the Clean Air Act, Federal Water Pollution Control Act and Toxic Substance Control Act, for example, must be filed within 30 days. Other violations may have up to a 180-day window to file a complaint, including violations against the Federal Railroad Safety Act or the Surface Transportation Assistance Act.

How do you file a complaint?

OSHA has made it so that all employees have the ability to file a complaint if necessary. It can be made by completing a form online from OSHA’s website, in writing, or orally, either by making a phone call or walking in to your local OSHA office. Complaints will be accepted in any language, regardless of how they are submitted.

What happens after the complaint is filed?

After the complaint has been filed, OSHA will contact the whistleblower to determine if they need to conduct an investigation. If the organization decides to pursue the complaint, the whistleblower will then be able to offer evidence to support their claim.

To ensure that an OSHA complaint is properly filed, and to preserve your rights under OSHA, we recommend that you consult with an attorney versed in this area of law. If you need representation in an OSHA whistleblower case, or if you require a transgender discrimination attorney in Philadelphia, please call us.