Posts Tagged ‘Whistleblower Protection Program’

OSHA wants to hear about your experiences with its Whistleblower Protection Program

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced that there will be a public meeting to solicit comments on its Whistleblower Protection Program from 1 – 4 p.m. EST May 14, 2019.

OSHA invites employers, employees of businesses affecting interstate commerce and all interested parties, including business owners, employees, associations, whistleblower advocacy groups, labor groups and attornies to the meeting.

In particular, OSHA wants to know how it can provide better customer service to whistleblowers and what kind of assistance OSHA can provide to better explain existing whistleblower laws.

Interested parties who plan to attend, speak or call in, should register by the close of business on April 30, 2019. Participants may speak and hand out written materials, but there will be no opportunity to give an electronic presentation. Registration on the day of the meeting will be permitted on a space-available basis beginning at noon. The meetings will be held in room S-3215A-C at the U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20210.

Click here to read the public notice and submit electronic comments. Electronic comments must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on May 7.

Click here to register to attend.

OSHA schedules meeting to request comments on whistleblower issues

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has scheduled a meeting June 12, 2018, in Washington, D.C., to solicit comments and suggestions from stakeholders in the railroad and trucking industries on whistleblower issues within the jurisdiction of the agency.

OSHA seeks input on how the agency can better deliver whistleblower customer service, and what kind of assistance the agency can provide to help explain the whistleblower laws it enforces. This meeting will be the first in a series of meetings requesting public input on the whistleblower program.

The meeting is open to the public, and will be held from 1:00-3:00 p.m. ET in Room N-3437 A-B, at the U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20210. Individuals interested in participating or attending the meeting, either in-person or via telephone, must register by May 29, 2018. Click here to register. There is no fee to register. All materials may be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, which is the Federal eRulemaking Portal using OSHA Docket No. OSHA-2018-0005.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of 22 statutes protecting employees who report violations of airline, commercial motor vehicle, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime and securities laws. More information is available at http://www.whistleblowers.gov. For information about OSHA, visit http://www.osha.gov.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

UP retaliates against another injured worker

osha-logo_webAn investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has determined that management of the Union Pacific Railroad added insult to injury when it blamed a worker in Roseville who was hurt on-the-job and then retaliated against him for reporting his injury in February 2011.

Investigators established that Union Pacific violated the Federal Railroad Safety Act when the company retaliated against the employee for reporting to his supervisors that he was hurt while lifting materials and equipment. As a result, OSHA has ordered the railroad to pay the worker $100,000 in punitive and compensatory damages.

This case follows a pattern of behavior by Union Pacific toward its injured employees. OSHA recently reported that the railroad has faced more than 200 whistleblower complaints nationwide since 2001.

“Union Pacific has repeatedly retaliated against workers who report on-the-job injuries,” said Barbara Goto, acting OSHA regional administrator in San Francisco. “That flies in the face of the protections that the FRSA affords.”

After being hurt, the employee in Roseville reported his injury. Although evidence at an investigatory hearing proved otherwise, Union Pacific charged the employee with causing his own injury by not using proper ergonomic and safety techniques. The company suspended him without pay for five days.

In November 2012, Union Pacific apparently changed course. The company expunged the employee’s record and paid him for the day he attended the investigation hearing and the five days of his suspension. Since the company voluntarily corrected the retaliation, OSHA assessed $50,000 in punitive damages.

Any of the parties in this case can file an appeal with the department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges.

Union Pacific is the principal operating company of Union Pacific Corp, which functions in 23 states across the western two-thirds of the United States. It has 47,000 employees and operates 8,000 locomotives over 32,000 route miles.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the FRSA and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, worker safety, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime and securities laws.

Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise various protected concerns or provide protected information to the employer or to the government. Employees who believe that they have been retaliated against for engaging in protected conduct may file a complaint with the secretary of labor to request an investigation by OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program. Detailed information on employee whistleblower rights, including fact sheets, is available at http://www.whistleblowers.gov.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

UP again violates Federal Railroad Safety Act

More than 200 whistleblower complaints against railroad since 2001

osha-logo_webNORTH PLATTE, Neb. – For the third time since 2011, the Union Pacific Railroad has violated the Federal Railroad Safety Act at its yard in North Platte by disciplining employees who reported workplace injuries and sought medical attention, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found. Since 2001, the company has faced more than 200 whistleblower complaints nationwide.

In the most recent case, OSHA investigators determined that Union Pacific disciplined a 35-year-employee after the locomotive freight engineer reported injuries sustained in a Dec. 22, 2013, collision and received medical attention. The company has been ordered to pay the engineer $350,000 in punitive and compensatory damages and reasonable attorney’s fees, remove disciplinary information from the employee’s personnel record and provide information about whistleblower rights to all its employees. Prior to this incident, the employee had never been disciplined.

“It is disheartening that this employee, a loyal railroad worker for 35 years, faced disciplinary action because he sought needed medical attention for a work-related injury. Union Pacific’s actions and the repeated complaints filed by their employees are indicative of a culture that doesn’t show that same loyalty to their workers or concern for their safety,” said Marcia P. Drumm, OSHA’s regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. “Whistleblower protections play an important role in keeping workplaces safe. It is not only illegal to discipline an employee for reporting an injury and seeking medical attention, it puts everyone at risk.”

Any of the parties in this case can file an appeal with the department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges.

Based in Omaha, Union Pacific Corporation is one of America’s leading transportation companies. Its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, is North America’s premier railroad franchise, in 23 states across the western two-thirds of the United States. It has 47,000 employees and operates 8,000 locomotives over 32,000 route miles.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the FRSA and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, worker safety, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime and securities laws.

Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise various protected concerns or provide protected information to the employer or to the government. Employees who believe that they have been retaliated against for engaging in protected conduct may file a complaint with the secretary of labor to request an investigation by OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program. Detailed information on employee whistleblower rights, including fact sheets, is available at http://www.whistleblowers.gov.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit https://www.osha.gov/.

OSHA announces final rule on handling retaliation

osha-logo_webWASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today published a final rule finalizing procedures for handling whistleblower retaliation complaints filed under Section 806 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. The SOX Act protects employees who report fraudulent activities and violations of Securities Exchange Commission rules that can harm investors in publicly traded companies.

“Silencing workers who try to do the right thing is unacceptable,” said Assistant Secretary of Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “This final rule safeguards investors by protecting whistleblowers who shine a light on illegal or fraudulent conduct that otherwise may go uncorrected.”

SOX prohibits publicly-traded companies, nationally recognized statistical ratings organizations, and other covered persons from retaliating against an employee who provides information about conduct that the employee reasonably believes violates federal mail, wire, bank or securities fraud statutes, SEC rules, or any provision of federal law relating to fraud against shareholders.

Workers can file a complaint with OSHA if they believe that their employer has retaliated against them for exercising their rights under SOX. OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Programs Web page provides instructions on how to file a complaint and information on worker rights and protections.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of SOX and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various workplace, commercial motor vehicle, airline, nuclear, pipeline, environmental, railroad, public transportation, maritime, consumer product, motor vehicle safety, health care reform, food safety and consumer financial reform regulations. Additional information is available at http://www.whistleblowers.gov.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

OSHA affirms support for whistle-blowers

WASHINGTON – An official of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) this week affirmed the agency’s support for whistle-blower protection.

OSHA enforces provisions of 19 laws protecting employees who report violations of various securities, trucking, airline, nuclear, pipeline, environmental, railroad, public transportation, workplace safety and health, consumer product safety, health care reform, and financial reform laws.

“OSHA’s Whistle-blower Protection Program exists because of a decades-old belief held by Congress, stakeholders, employers and society that whistle-blowers play an essential role in protecting workers and the public, said Dr. David Michaels, OSHA’s assistant secretary of labor.

“Whistle-blowers can make the difference between lawful workplaces and places where workers fear for their livelihoods and even their lives if they raise concerns,” Michaels said.

“With our available resources,” he said, “OSHA is working hard to ensure that whistle-blowers are protected from retaliation. We are in the process of a top-to-bottom review of OSHA’s whistle-blower protection program.”

The comments came following a General Accountability Office audit of the OSHA Whistle-blower Protection Program. “OSHA has already begun taking action on items recommended in the GAO report, such as requiring all investigators and their supervisors to complete mandatory investigator training over the next 18 months, setting strategic goals and performance measures for the whistleblower program, and providing new equipment to field staff,” Michaels said.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to assure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

Detailed information on employee whistle-blower rights, including fact sheets, is available at www.whistleblowers.gov