February 17, 2023
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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched its pilot program creating a new intake process for whistleblower complaints. With the pilot program, OSHA is targeting the backlog of whistleblower complaints it has received and hoping to create a shorter timeline to complete investigations. The pilot program applies to whistleblower complaints made under several federal laws and not just the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act.
The new pilot program creates a screening intake process that allows for the administrative closure of facially flawed or otherwise deficient allegations. There are three categories under which complaints can be closed during intake: 1) complaints that are not facially covered by any OSHA-administered whistleblower statute; 2) complaints that on their face are untimely but may not be subject to equitable tolling; and 3) complaints that allege safety or compliance concerns but not retaliation. Under the current requirements, OSHA investigators have to contact every individual filing a complaint to confirm the information in the complaint. The pilot program removes this substantial time burden for complaints that are facially unfit for investigation.
The pilot program is expected to last one year before being made permanent. OSHA will review data after the 6-month and 12-month period and compare it to the 12-month period prior to the pilot to determine its success. In addition to analyzing the accurate administrative closure of cases, OSHA will review whether the pilot program resulted in an adverse impact on whistleblowers.
- Review OSH Act requirements for compliance.
- Have appropriate personnel trained on health and safety requirements.
- Review adverse actions taken against whistleblowers with legal counsel.
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Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser. © 2023 ManagEase