Protecting OSHA Whistleblowers
New York whistleblower lawyers at Leeds Brown know how important it is to protect workers from retaliation. Shielding employees from being “punished” by their employers is important enough to have generated countless pieces of legislation making such actions unlawful.
Retaliation is the term used when an employer makes an adverse employment decision against an employee because that employee reported wrongdoing. A worker may report discrimination or harassment, and, as a result, their boss fires her, she would have a retaliation claim.
Whistleblowing is the term used when the conduct reported is related to fraud against the government, public health and safety or workplace health and safety. If your employer fires you for reporting fraud against the government or a safety violation, your employer may be in violation of a whistleblower statute.
Attorneys at Leeds Brown understand the complex rules and regulations that apply to whistleblower situations and can help you navigate a whistleblower claim against your employer. If you think your employer has retaliated against for reporting a safety violation or concern, you may be entitled to recover damages or have your employment situation otherwise remedied.
Leeds Brown lawyers are a team of dedicated, hard-working advocates who take great satisfaction in protecting the rights of workers in New York and across the nation. We know how difficult it can be to stand up and do what is right, even when you put your job on the line. Don’t let your employer punish you for doing the right thing. Contact Leeds Brown and get the help you need to secure the outcome you deserve.
OSHA’s Many Whistleblower Protections
Occupational Safety and Health Administration enforces the many whistleblower statutes protect you from retaliation in various situations. Essentially, an employer cannot retaliate by taking “adverse action” against a worker who reports injuries, safety concerns or other protected activity. The whistleblower protections were designed to maximize the likelihood that employees report unsafe conduct. Employees who feel confident that they may not legally be fired or punished are more likely to report dangerous practices. Whistleblower laws help people maintain safe practices in the workplace and often help the public at large as well.
What is an Adverse Action in an OSHA Whistleblower Case?
An adverse employment action is any employment decision that negatively impacts the employee in question. Any of the following may be an adverse action:
- Making threats against an employee
- Harassment or intimidation of an employee
- Denying overtime to a worker
- Denying a promotion
- Reducing pay
- Reducing hours of work
- Changing shifts
- Firing or laying off someone
- Blacklisting or badmouthing
- Disciplining an employee
- Reassigning to a different department or location
- Refusing to grant benefits
- Failing to hire
- Giving a negative review
- Giving a negative recommendation
Since passage of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Congress has expanded OSHA’s whistleblower authority to protect workers from retaliation under twenty-two federal laws by including specific whistleblower protection language. Some of the statutes with whistleblower language are the Food Modernization Safety Act, The Clean Air Act, The Federal Water Pollution Control Act, The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act and The Federal Rail Safety Act.
Under federal and New York State law, you are entitled to work in a safe environment. Your employer is required by law to provide a workplace free from all known health and safety hazards. If you are concerned, remember; you have the right to speak up about your health and safety concerns without fear of retaliation. According to the Department of Labor, you also have the right to:
- Work on machines that are safe
- Be trained in a language you understand
- Be provided required safety gear, such as gloves or a harness and lifeline for falls
- Be protected from toxic chemicals
- Request an OSHA inspection, and speak directly to the inspector
- Report an injury or illness, and get copies of your medical records
- See copies of the workplace injury and illness log
- Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses
- Get copies of test results done to find hazards in the workplace
Contact New York Whistleblower Attorneys to Protect Employment Rights
Whistleblowers deserve praise when they stand up to their employers and try to ensure that employers follow health and safety rules. Employees who complain or report violations of this nature are entitled to protection under numerous federal and state laws. However, employers don’t always abide by the laws and may retaliate against an employee. When this happens, you have recourse.
Experienced New York whistleblower attorneys at Leeds Brown can help you understand your rights under the various whistleblower statutes. Sometimes there may be more than one in play and deciding where you fall may be confusing. For example, your boss may have had several reasons for making his adverse employment decision. We can help you prove that it was in retaliation for whistleblowing.
You may be entitled to collect monetary damages or reinstatement depending on your situation. Leeds Brown’s attorneys will work hard to secure the successful outcome you deserve. You don’t have to be afraid to speak up when you have Leeds Brown behind you.
Call Leeds Brown at 1-800-585-4658. Our staff is available twenty-four hours a day to take your call. Initial consultations are always free, with no obligation to retain our firm. Time may be of the essence; call today.