One of the biggest dangers of becoming a so-called “whistleblower” is the threat of employer retaliation. Imagine, for example, that you work for a construction firm that engages in numerous Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) safety violations because it’s too “cheap” to pay for legally required safety improvements.
Nevertheless, the workers put up with the safety issues because they’re thankful to have a job and they don’t want to risk their incomes by complaining. After a co-worker suffered a serious injury, you’ve decided that enough is enough, and you’ve filed a complaint with OSHA to complain.
As an OSHA whistleblower, you don’t have to be afraid of adverse employment consequences related to your complaint — even if an OSHA investigation decides that your complaint was unfounded. OSHA rules will protect you from the following types of retaliation:
- Termination of employment or being laid off
- Getting blacklisted from your industry
- Being demoted to a lower-level job
- Getting denied promotions and overtime
- Unfounded disciplinary actions
- Denials of employment benefits
- Refusal to be rehired or hired
- Harassment and intimidation
- All kinds of threats
- Reduction of hours and pay
- Reassignment to other areas of the business
If you’ve become a whistleblower because your reported your employer’s safety violations to OSHA — or if you’re thinking about becoming a whistleblower — it’s important to understand your legal rights and protections so that you can speak up and take legal action in the event that your employer retaliates against you. Victims of employment-related whistleblower retaliation may be able to pursue money to compensate for financial damages, lost income, emotional turmoil, legal fees, litigation costs and more.