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COVID-19 whistleblowing: New fact sheet from OSHA

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Washington — A new fact sheet from OSHA details protections for employees who report workplace health and safety concerns related to COVID-19, and includes other relevant information for whistleblowers.

Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 contains anti-retaliation provisions for all employers except most federal, state and local government workers. U.S. Postal Service employees, however, are covered.

Activities related to COVID-19 that are protected include reporting an infection/exposure or unsafe condition to an employer or OSHA. The fact sheet provides examples of retaliation, including being fired or laid off.

 

OSHA notes that, under the OSH Act, the deadline for filing a retaliation complaint is 30 days after an employee “learns of the adverse action.” It also details what happens after a complaint is filed, what to do about a “dangerous situation” at work and what happens after a Section 11(c) investigation.

If an OSHA regional administrator dismisses the complaint, the employee may seek a review of the dismissal by the Directorate of Whistleblower Protection Programs by filing a request within 15 calendar days of receiving the dismissal letter.