The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which overseas the 22 federal whistle-blower protection laws, recently announced plans to introduce an online form to facilitate the complaint-filing process.

Prior to the upcoming online option, employees who felt they had been retaliated against for blowing the whistle at work had two recourses: 1) to phone the agency during business hours, or 2) to submit a formal written complaint.

With the number of whistle-blower complaints already having surged 40 percent year over year (2012 over 2011), the availability of a 24/7 reporting option seems certain to increase both the frequency and sheer volume of complaints.

When it comes to favorable determinations, however, the tide seems to be ebbing rather than rising. The number of merit determinations actually decreased from 48 in 2011 to 45 in 2012, and the number of dismissed cases rose from 1,108 in 2011 to 1,660 in 2012.