The U.S. Department of Labor has sued the U.S. Postal Service, alleging discrimination and retaliation against a safety specialist who provided information to an employee wishing to file a safety complaint with OSHA.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, resulted from an investigation by OSHA that found the Postal Service had violated the whistleblower protection provisions of Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

"An employee's right to report unsafe and unhealthy workplace conditions must be protected to ensure that workers are not injured or sickened on the job," said Dean Ikeda, OSHA's regional administrator in Seattle. "Hostility and retaliation against whistleblowers are simply unacceptable."

OSHA's investigation determined that the Postal Service followed a pattern of adverse actions against the safety specialist, who was assigned to the Seattle Process and Distribution Center, after learning that he had assisted another employee in exercising her rights under the OSH Act and provided her with OSHA's contact information. That employee later filed a formal complaint with OSHA alleging unhealthful conditions at the facility.