The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) is designed to regulate employment conditions relating to occupational safety and health and to achieve safer and more healthful workplaces throughout the nation. The Act recognizes that effective implementation and achievement of its goals depend in large measure upon the active and orderly participation of employees, individually and through their representatives.
To help ensure that employees are, in fact, free to participate in safety and health activities, Section 11(c) of the Act prohibits any person from discharging or in any manner retaliating against any employee because the employee has exercised rights under the Act.
These rights include complaining to OSHA and seeking an OSHA inspection, participating in an OSHA inspection, and participating or testifying in any proceeding related to an OSHA inspection.
OSHA also administers the whistle blowing provisions of sixteen other statutes, protecting employees who report violations of various trucking, airline, nuclear power, pipeline, environmental, rail, consumer product and securities laws.
A person filing a complaint of discrimination or retaliation will be required to show that he or she engaged in protected activity, the employer knew about that activity, the employer subjected him or her to an adverse employment action, and the protected activity contributed to the adverse action.How We Help
Adverse employment action is generally defined as a material change in the terms or conditions of employment. Depending upon the circumstances of the case, “discrimination” can include:
- Firing or laying off
- Denying overtime or promotion
- Denial of benefits
- Failure to hire or rehire
- Reducing pay or hours
The 17 statutes enforced by OSHA and the regulations governing their administration are listed below. Click on any statute to see the whistleblower provisions:
- Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970
- The Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982
- The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act of 1986
- The International Safe Container Act of 1977
- The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 (SDWA)
- The Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 (FWPCA)
- The Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA)
- The Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1976 (SWDA)
- The Clean Air Act of 1977 (CAA)
- The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA)
- The Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 (ERA)
- The Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR21)
- The Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability Act of 2002, Title VIII of the Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOX)
- The Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002 (PSIA)
- The Federal Rail Safety Act of 1970 (FRSA)
- The National Transit Systems Security Act of 2007 (NTSSA)
- The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA)
- 29 CFR Part 1977 – Discrimination Against Employees Exercising Rights under the Williams-Steiger Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970
- 29 CFR Part 1978 – Rules for Implementing Section 405 of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982
- 29 CFR Part 1979 – Procedures for the Handling of Discrimination Complaints under Section 519 of the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century
- 29 CFR Part 1980 – Procedures for the Handling of Discrimination Complaints under Section 806 of the Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability Act of 2002
- 29 CFR Part 1981 – Procedures for the Handling of Discrimination Complaints under Section 6 of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002
- 29 CFR Part 24 – Interim Final Rule, Procedures for the Handling of Retaliation Complaints under the Employee Protection Provisions of Six Federal Environmental Statutes and Section 211 of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, as amended.
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