Sometimes it takes courageous employees to step forward and report a dangerous work environment. Safety in the workplace is not a guarantee, and even in the seemingly most harmless work environments, injuries do occur. It is important to remember that protection for employees is not the first concern of employers, depending on the situation.
In cases where there appears to be employer negligence, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) advocates a whistle blowing protection program which prohibits any individual from dismissing or retaliating in any fashion against any employee if the employee has exercised their rights under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act).
The OSH Act exists to “…assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women; by authorizing enforcement of the standards developed under the Act; by assisting and encouraging the States in their efforts to assure safe and healthful working conditions; by providing for research, information, education, and training in the field of occupational safety and health; and for other purposes “according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Rights afforded by the OSH Act include:
● Employee participation in safety and health activities, such as complaining to OSHA and seeking an OSHA inspection
● Participating in an OSHA inspection
● Participating or testifying in any proceeding related to an OSHA inspection
● Reporting a work-related injury, illness, or fatality
To File a Complaint:
Complaints regarding employer retaliation filed with OSHA must allege that:
1. The complainant engaged in a protected activity
2. The respondent knew about that activity
3. The respondent subjected the complainant to an adverse action
4. The protected activity motivated or contributed to the adverse action
An adverse action is defined as any action that would dissuade a reasonable employee from engaging in protected activity. Depending upon the circumstances of the case, "adverse" actions can include Firing or laying off, blacklisting, demoting, denying overtime or promotion, disciplining, denial of benefits, failure to hire or rehire, intimidation, making threats, reassignment affecting prospects for promotion, and/or reducing pay or hours.
Your safety and the safety of your co-workers may depend upon a willingness to step forward and identify employer actions which disregard protection for employees. If you believe your employer has discriminated against you because you exercised your safety and health rights or other protected activity, contact your local OSHA Office right away. Knowing your rights is very important, because time is a factor. Discrimination complaints that fall under the OSH Act only give you 30 days to report discrimination.
If you are a worker and you believe your rights have been violated, you should contact a qualified Illinois workers compensation lawyer. Contact a qualified Illinois workers' rights attorney to request Free Case Evaluation -Call Toll Free 1-866-854-6674.
DISCLAIMER: All information on this website are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to be construed as legal advice. The Law Offices of Bradley S. Dworkin shall not be liable for any errors or inaccuracies contained herein, or any actions taken in reliance thereon.