OSHA Chief Begins Oversight of Whistleblower Protection Program
Moving forward with continuing efforts to strengthen employees' voices in the workplace, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced a major restructuring of its Office of the Whistleblower Protection Program. The program will now report directly to the agency's Office of the Assistant Secretary instead of to its Directorate of Enforcement Programs.
This move represents a significantly elevated priority status for whistleblower enforcement, which now will be overseen directly by Assistant Secretary of Labor David Michaels, who heads OSHA.
"The ability of workers to speak out and exercise their rights without fear of retaliation provides the backbone for some of American workers' most essential legal protections. OSHA's internal improvement initiatives, including this realignment, demonstrate the agency's steadfast commitment to strengthening a program that is critically important to the protection of worker rights," said Michaels.
OSHA first announced that it would restructure its whistleblower program on Aug. 1, 2011, as part of the agency's multifaceted plan for strengthening the enforcement of 21 whistleblower laws under its jurisdiction. Implementation of this plan began with the fiscal year 2012 budget as OSHA established a separate budgetary line item for the whistleblower program to better track and hold accountable its activities and accomplishments.
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