On April 10th, 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced an upcoming public meeting to discuss improving outreach and training for its Whistleblower Protection Program. The program enforces whistleblower provisions of more than 20 statutes. OSHA’s recent rulemaking and enforcement of whistleblower laws means employers should examine their workplace for critical compliance gaps in workplace hazard prevention, environmental responsibility, or security trading. Last month, the DOL issued a final rule on whistleblower retaliation complaints under the Taxpayer First Act.
OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program
OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program enforces whistleblower protection provisions under several statutes. These include Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA). In brief, whistleblower provisions protect employees from retaliation for reporting workplace violations regarding safety and health, tax, antitrust and anti-money laundering laws, and other related protected activities.
The Whistleblower Protection Program website currently provides information on filing a whistleblower complaint, whistleblower protections by subject, and a slew of other resources like data and statistics. Employers can access valuable information on creating an anti-retaliation program and what to expect during an investigation.
Virtual Meeting to Improve Program Outreach and Training
OSHA will hold its virtual meeting on Wednesday, May 10th, 2023, from 1 PM to 4 PM Eastern Daylight Time through Zoom. It will be open to the public, and there is no fee to register. OSHA will offer the meeting in both English and Spanish. Those interested in attending must register in either English or Spanish by May 3rd, 2023. The agency will hear public comments and suggestions for improving the outreach and training goals of its Whistleblower Protection Program. Specifically, OSHA wants public input and ideas answering the following questions:
- How can the agency improve its Whistleblower Protection Program website?
- What additional resources should OSHA offer the public on its whistleblower website?
- Are there any training videos or presentations that could help the public better understand OSHA whistleblower laws?
- In what ways can OSHA better engage with whistleblower complainants and respondents?
During the virtual meeting, participants will have up to five minutes to speak individually. If extra time remains before the end of the meeting, participants may be given extra time to speak. Individuals must submit their public comments by May 24th, 2023. Those interested can submit comments using the Federal eRulemaking Portal for the docket number OSHA-2018-0005.