OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Programs Shield Workers from Retaliation for Reporting Safety Hazards

Share Article

The OSHA Training Institute Education Center at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District is highlighting recommended practices for anti-retaliation programs.

Cari Elofson, Assistant Director, OSHA Programs

Cari Elofson, Assistant Director, OSHA Programs

Retaliation against employees who raise or report concerns or otherwise exercise their rights under federal whistleblower provisions is not only illegal, it is also bad for workers and bad for business.

The OSHA Training Institute Education Center at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District, the only OSHA authorized OTI Education Center headquartered in Northern California, is shining a spotlight on OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Programs to assist employees who feel they have experienced retaliation in response to engaging in activity protected under 22 whistleblower statutes. Protected employee activities may include filing a report about a possible violation of the law with OSHA or other government agencies; reporting a concern about a possible violation of the law to an employer; reporting a workplace injury, illness or hazard; cooperating with law enforcement; or refusing to conduct tasks that would violate the law.

“Retaliation against employees who raise or report concerns or otherwise exercise their rights under federal whistleblower provisions is not only illegal, it is also bad for workers and bad for business,” says Cari Elofson, Assistant Director of the OSHA Training Institute Education Center at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District. “Any retaliatory action against an employee makes the organization vulnerable to claims of retaliation and could result in a discrimination complaint being filed with OSHA.”

OSHA recommends that employers develop a proactive anti-retaliation program to receive and respond appropriately to employees’ complaints and concerns and to prevent and address retaliation against employees who raise or report concerns. An anti-retaliation program that enables all members of the work¬force to voice their concerns without fear of retaliation can help employers learn of problems and appropriately address them before they become more difficult to correct. A program based on this proactive approach not only helps employers ensure that they are following federal laws, but also helps create a positive work¬place culture that prevents unlawful retaliation against employees.

Implementing an effective anti-retaliation program requires specific policies and commitments, and should include these five key elements integrated into a cohesive program:

1.    Management leadership, commitment and accountability
2.    A system for listening to and resolving employees’ concerns
3.    A system for receiving and responding to reports of retaliation
4.    Anti-retaliation training for employees and managers
5.    Program oversight

To learn more about how to implement an effective anti-retaliation program, download OSHA’s Recommended Practices for Anti-Retaliation Programs.

About the OSHA Training Institute Education Center

The OSHA Training Institute Education Center at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District offers high quality Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) standards-based training for the construction, maritime and general industry in Dublin, California, conveniently located in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as locations throughout California, Nevada and Hawaii. Programs offered include OSHA safety standards, Outreach Trainer courses, Cal/OSHA standards and customized on-site safety training. For more information, including a complete course schedule, visit the OSHA Training Institute Education Center website, email otc(at)clpccd(dot)org or call (866) 936-OSHA (6742).

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Visit website