Among the 21 whistleblower protection statutes OSHA administers is Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which prohibits any person from discharging or retaliating against any employee who has exercised his rights under the OSH Act. Those rights include "employee participation in safety and health activities, such as complaining to OSHA and seeking an OSHA inspection, participating in an OSHA inspection, participating or testifying in any proceeding in relation to an OSHA inspection, and reporting a work-related injury, illness or fatality," the agency explains.
A complaint of retaliation must allege that the complainant engaged in a protected activity, the respondent knew about the activity and subjected the complainant to an adverse action, and the protected activity motivated or contributed to the adverse action. Adverse actions are defined as any action that would dissuade a reasonable employee from engaging in a protected activity. For example:
- Firing or laying off.
- Denying overtime or promotion.
- Denial of benefits.
- Failure to hire or rehire.
- Reassignment affecting prospects for promotion.
- Reducing pay or hours.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
March 29, 2012
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