The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will continue its series of open meetings in which members of the public can provide comments, express concerns and recommend suggestions regarding whistleblower issues. Specifically, OSHA wishes to solicit public opinion on whistleblower regulations in the finance industry within the administration’s jurisdiction.
Making public opinion heard
The public forum, which will be held at the headquarters of the Department of Labor in Washington, D.C., has two purposes. First, OSHA wants to hear public opinion on how to improve its customer service for whistleblowers. Second, it wishes to provide a forum for public citizens to discuss whistleblowing. The administration has successfully held two previous, similar public meetings.
Helping whistleblowers know their rights
These exchanges also have a third, de facto function: Informing whistleblowers of their rights. OSHA is responsible for overseeing 22 whistleblower statutes that protect employees in a variety of fields who report legal or ethics violations. Many employees who notice wrongdoing at their jobs and wish to become whistleblowers do not understand that they are guaranteed certain protections.
Options for whistleblowers
With any luck, OSHA’s public forums will help educate workers about their rights as whistleblowers. It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee who reports a violation. Retaliation can include harassment, demotion or termination. Employers who do retaliate against whistleblowers are in violation of federal and state law.
In addition to filing a report with OSHA, employees have the option of seeking legal counsel from a workers’ rights attorney. Legal action such as class action lawsuits are a powerful way for whistleblowers who experienced retaliation to seek compensation for their damages and hold their employers accountable.