OSHA Vows to Improve Whistleblower Treatment

According to a recent study conducted by OSHA, there is room for improvement in the way many states handle whistleblower discrimination.

Following a report it published last month, OSHA will continue to monitor treatment of whistleblowers in workplaces. The Federal Annual Monitoring Evaluation (FAME) report revealed that incidents of discrimination involving workers who report health or safety issued in the workplace have been improperly handled in many states.

Some issues cited in the FAME reports include failure to interview the workers subject to alleged discrimination, failure to interview supervisors, the existence of state laws that could discourage complaints, unorganized files related to complains, and incorrect classification of complaints.

The annual report has brought such issues to light in previous years. This year is no different.

One example of a law that could potentially deter the filing of a complaint by an employee existed in Nevada. Under state law, complaints filed by employees can not be investigated unless the employee notifies the supervisor prior to the beginning of the investigation by Nevada OSHA workers. Federal OSHA does not require this and can also inspect a workplace without informing the employer that a complaint was filed.

OSHA vows to continue working to improve circumstances for whistleblowers.

“Working with the OSHA regions, states have developed corrective action plans to address the problems identified in the FAME (reports) with expected actions and time frames for completion,” OSHA said in a statement Monday.

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