Employees who file a complaint about safety with OSHA are protected under the law from retaliation.
A company in New Jersey found out the hard way. Brocon Petroleum in New Jersey terminated an employee in retaliation after they suspected he had contacted OSHA, triggering an OSHA inspection. Employees have the right to contact OSHA and cannot be disciplined or punished for doing so.
According to the OSHA news release, US marshals seized the car of Brocon Petroleum’s president after the company failed to pay the employee the back wages due him as determined in a consent judgement.
As noted in OSHA’s press release, detailed information on employee whistleblower rights, including fact sheets, is available on OSHA’s website here.
Employers should encourage employees to bring their safety concerns to management first. That also means employers must listen to employees and work to address safety concerns and hazards. For more information on this, setting up safety training, safety programs and a safety communications program, please contact CHESS.