Employees who have been subjected to retaliation for reporting a workplace injury may be entitled to additional compensation by making a whistleblower claim. Under Federal law, it is illegal for an employer to discipline or retaliate against employees who report injuries. This creates an atmosphere of fear that intimidates other workers and discourages them from reporting workplace hazards. As a result, the likelihood of other workers being hurt on the job is increased.
Protections Provided under 1970 Occupational Safety and Health Act
When a worker believes he or she is working in a dangerous work environment or has been injured, they should bring it to their employer’s attention. Preferably, this should be done before the worker is forced to either choose putting themselves in danger or refusing to work.
Under the 1970 Occupational Safety and Health Act, workers can file a complaint with OSHA if they encounter hazardous working conditions on the job. A worker filing a complaint is protected from retaliation if he or she is acting in good faith and has reason to believe the conditions could cause serious injury or death.
If an employee is injured and then retaliated against for making a report of an injury or hazardous condition, he or she could be eligible to also file a whistleblower claim and a retaliation claim with the help of their work injury attorney to receive additional compensation.
Acts of retaliation include:
- Denying benefits
- Firing or laying off
- Reducing hours or pay
How to File an OSHA Whistleblower Complaint
When an employer has retaliated against an employee, it is imperative that he or she files a report with OSHA as soon as possible after the event occurs. There is a limited time of 30 days to file complaints of this nature. The complaint may be made verbally by calling or visiting a local OSHA office. It may also be filed by sending a written complaint via mail, fax, or hand delivery.
Upon receipt of a complaint, OSHA will review it to determine if it is valid and then investigate for further information before making its determination. If OSHA determines there is enough evidence to support the claim and the defendant Is unwilling to make a voluntary settlement, the Secretary of Labor may choose to litigate the case in U.S. District Court.