Reflecting its renewed emphasis on "whistleblower" protection under the Obama administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched an online whistleblower complaint system. The new feature on OSHA’s website was added Thursday, December 5, 2013, and provides yet another means of filing workplace retaliation complaints with the agency.
Although the online form is nearly identical to the existing paper complaint form, OSHA has said the online system will give workers an easily accessible way to file whistleblower complaints without fear of retaliation. Workers can now file complaints by calling an agency hotline or a regional office, submitting a written complaint, or using the online form. Given the ease with which employees now can file complaints, employers should brace for a likely increase in these claims.
OSHA is well known as the federal agency responsible for regulating workplace health and safety in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. But in addition to enforcing the whistleblower protection provisions of that Act, OSHA enforces more than 20 other statutes containing protections for employees complaining of workplace retaliation for opposing illegal practices and reporting violations to government enforcement agencies, including the Clean Air Act, the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, Sarbanes-Oxley, and the Affordable Care Act.