Can Employees Be Fired For Reporting Safety Violations?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has the responsibility of ensuring employers provide a safe work environment for employees, but as an organization with limited resources, it cannot perform this task on its own. For this reason, workers are granted protection for reporting safety hazards.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 allows workers to file a complaint and a request for OSHA to investigate unsafe working conditions. In addition, the law also allows workers the right to request anonymity.
Firing a worker or discriminating against him or her for filing a complaint can lead to further fines and legal consequences for employers. Under OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program, employers are prohibited from firing employees for reporting safety violations.
What Options Are Available to Whistleblowers?
Employees who suspect they have been fired or discriminated against for filing a complaint can file an additional complaint with OSHA within 30 days of the alleged discrimination.
A recent example can help us show our readers what happens when an employer fires workers for filing a complaint with OSHA. After being fired for filing a complaint, a truck driver for a landfill company has received a $33,000 settlement from his former employer. According to OSHA, the employee was fired after filing a complaint for inadequate fall protection.
Employees who have been injured from unsafe working conditions might have additional options that extend beyond the workers’ compensation system. It is always advisable to contact an attorney and discuss options available to you.
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Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC – Columbus Workers’ Comp Lawyer