OSHA is changing some of its whistleblower guidelines in order to better help workers understand their case.
According to the National Safety Council, a new OSHA procedure has been outlined meant to protect and assist whistleblowers, those who have found safety violations in their own workspaces and are committed to making a change.
The new policies and procedures process is to be used as part of the regional Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program. The program gives whistleblowers the opportunity to negotiate a settlement with the assistance of a neutral, confidential OSHA representative, someone who has expertise in these kinds of situations.
“The Alternative Dispute Resolution process can be a valuable alternative to the expensive and time-consuming process of an investigation and litigation. It will provide whistleblower complainants and respondents the option of exploring voluntary resolution of their disputes outside of the traditional investigative process,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.
By having a staff dedicated to facilitating negotiations and effective service, the process becomes one that is both easier to understand and beneficial for employees who feel as if there are safety issues in their day-to-day work.
Under OSHA’s protection from workplace retaliation standards, employers cannot take adverse actions against those who speak out against them. These protections vary and include making threats, harassment, reducing pay or hours and denying overtime or promotion.
If you are interested in learning more about your rights as an employee or responsibilities as an employer, visit the OSHA website.
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