OSHA to Investigate Whistleblower Complaints under Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act and Anti-Money Laundering Act

Morgan Lewis - Up & Atom

The US Department of Labor (DOL) announced on February 19 that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will begin investigating whistleblower complaints of retaliation under the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act and the Anti-Money Laundering Act. Morgan Lewis previously reported on the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act in its December 16 and December 28 LawFlashes, and on the Anti-Money Laundering Act in its January webinar discussing key whistleblower developments in the past year.

Congress recently passed the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act, which amends the Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act of 2004 by adding Section 216, “Anti-Retaliation Protection for Whistleblowers.” Similarly, Congress recently enacted the Anti-Money Laundering Act, which amends the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 as well as a host of other anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing laws.

OSHA’s announcement indicates that, under the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act, it “will investigate individual whistleblower’s [sic] complaints of retaliation for reporting criminal antitrust violations to their superiors or the federal government; or for showing cause, testifying or participating in, or otherwise assisting an investigation or proceeding related to antitrust law violations.” OSHA will also investigate similar complaints of retaliation for reporting money laundering-related violations under the Anti-Money Laundering Act. The Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act provides that successful individuals are “entitled to all relief necessary to make [them] whole.” The Anti-Money Laundering Act provides similarly, and both Acts provide for compensatory damages.

Of note, although the OSHA announcement indicates that the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR21) procedures will govern whistleblower complaints under these Acts only “[u]ntil OSHA issues interim final rules,” the Acts themselves do not charge OSHA with promulgating new rules to administer them.

These Acts add to the 20+ whistleblower statutes already under OSHA’s purview.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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