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OSHA offers online complaint submission for whistleblowers

Missouri employees may be interested in a new announcement by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The federal agency announced on Dec. 5 that whistleblowers will now be able to reach out online to OSHA investigators about potential workplace violations. OSHA says the new system for filing online complaints will provide whistleblowers with another form of communication that preserves their employee rights and protects them from retaliation.

Prior to this announcement, the only way for whistleblowers to contact OSHA was through a written complaint or by phone. After submitting the complaint using the online form, the issue is routed to the appropriate regional investigator who will then initiate an investigation into the matter. Whistleblowers can also use the online portal to download a complaint form, which can then be mailed, faxed or personally delivered to an OSHA regional office.

Employers are required by law to provide a safe and healthy workplace. OSHA is the agency that establishes and monitors safety standards and takes action to enforce the law, if necessary. The agency also provides training and education to promote healthy work environments. OSHA also works to protect whistleblowers who report wrongdoing or noncompliance with various laws, including violations of securities law, consumer protection, public transportation, trucking, rail, environmental work and the airline industry.

Although the law protects whistleblowers from retaliation, employers who are angry about complaints may not always respect those protections. An employment law attorney could help a whistleblower navigate the complaint investigation. The attorney could assist the whistleblower in communicating and working with OSHA investigators and could also work to ensure that the whistleblower's rights are being respected and protected in the workplace.

Source: OSHA, "Whistleblowers can now file complaints online with OSHA Agency launches online form to provide workers a new way to file retaliation complaints", Adriano Llosa, December 05, 2013

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