Updated OSHA Manual Clarifies Whistleblower Investigation Process

Authored by Adam D. Hirtz

Mar 03, 2016

When most employers think of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), they think of workplace safety violations. However, OSHA also protects employees who report suspected Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) violations from retaliation. OSHA investigates “whistleblower” claims, and imposes stiff penalties on employers who retaliate (fire, demote, discipline, etc.) against an employee who reports an OSH Act violation.

OSHA’s recently updated manual clarifies the agency’s whistleblower investigation process. The updated manual states that an employee who reports a suspected OSH Act violation must have “reasonable cause to believe” that a violation has occurred in order to invoke whistleblower protection. Since OSHA’s goal is to protect employees, employers can expect OSHA to take a broad approach to this standard and to err on the side of protecting the employee.

OSHA’s manual is a free tool an employer can use to ensure compliance with whistleblower protections under the OSH Act. For more information, please visit OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Programs webpage or contact Lowenbaum Law.

If you have any questions about OSHA, workplace health and safety, or any other Employment Law matter, please do not hesitate to contact Adam Hirtz.

Page 1 of 11