New Developments in Anti-Retaliation Programs

whistleblowing2Earlier this year, OSHA issued new revisions to its whistleblowing recommendations, including a name change to Anti-Retaliation. The purpose and the intent of the new recommendations are unchanged: to make sure employers create worksites where workers feel comfortable voicing safety concerns without fear of retaliation. These recommendations of course have specific implications for the construction industry, as these charges are considered serious health and safety violations.

The review of existing policies, which was several years in the making, is an update to the more than 22 whistleblower protection laws  that OSHA enforces.

The new document outlines five key elements of an effective anti-retaliation program:

·         Management leadership, commitment, and accountability

·         System for listening to and resolving employees’ safety and compliance concerns

·         System for receiving and responding to reports of retaliation

·         Anti-retaliation training for employees and managers

·         Program oversight

Employers should be aware that it is a violation to take “adverse action” against workers who report injuries, safety concerns, or other protected activity.

These include:

·         Firing or laying off

·         Blacklisting

·         Demoting

·         Denying overtime or promotion

·         Disciplining

·         Denial of benefits

·         Failure to hire or rehire

·         Intimidation/harassment

·         Making threats

·         Reassignment affecting prospects for promotion

·         Reducing pay or hours

As always, a proactive safety management program is the best line of defense–including proper training and a company-wide culture of open communication. For more information, contact our offices at Diversified Safety Services.

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Nina McGinley

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