OSHA Testing Expedited Processing of Whistleblower Claims

The department acknowledged that OSHA's investigation process can take time and complainants may be able to receive a determination more quickly without losing their rights to a hearing by electing to expedite OSHA's processing of their claims.

A new pilot process is being tried out in DOL's Western region: Expedited Case Processing Pilot allows a complainant covered by certain statutes to ask OSHA to halt its whistleblower investigation and issue findings for DOL's Office of Administrative Law Judges to consider. This is possible only if the case meets certain criteria, and ALJs may order the same remedies as OSHA, including back pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages where authorized, attorneys' fees, and reinstatement, according to the announcement.

The department acknowledged in it that OSHA's investigation process can take time and complainants may be able to receive a determination more quickly without losing their rights to a hearing by electing to expedite OSHA's processing of their claims. "The ultimate goal is to bring about quicker resolution for whistleblowers and their employers regarding claims of retaliation for reporting safety and other concerns on the job," said Barbara Goto, OSHA's regional administrator in San Francisco.

The pilot became effective Aug. 1 in the agency's San Francisco region, which includes California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, and the islands of American Samoa, CNMI and Guam.

Once a complainant requests expedited processing, the case will be assessed for these criteria:

  • The claim is filed under a statute that allows for de novo review by an ALJ.
  • Depending on the statute, 30 or 60 days have passed from the date the complainant first filed with the claim with OSHA.
  • OSHA has interviewed the complainant.
  • Federal investigators have evaluated the complaint and the interview to determine whether basic elements of a retaliation claim exist.
  • Both the complainant and the respondent have had the opportunity to submit written responses, meet with an OSHA investigator, and present statements from witnesses.
  • The complainant has received a copy of the respondent's submissions and had an opportunity to respond.

Once OSHA officials determine the criteria are met, they will evaluate the claim to determine whether reasonable cause exists to believe a violation of the statute occurred and take one of three actions: dismiss the claim and inform the complainant of the right to proceed before an ALJ; issue merit findings as expeditiously as possible; or deny the request.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    When it comes to OSHA recordkeeping there are always questions regarding the requirements and in and outs. IndustrySafe is here to help. We put together this page with critical information to help answer your key questions about OSHA recordkeeping.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We put together a guide that’s easy to digest so you can ensure you're complying with OSHA's training standards.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Track Key Safety Performance Indicators

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations to easily track safety KPIs and metrics. Gain increased visibility into your business’ operations and safety data.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus
Live From NSC