House passes offshore whistleblower protection bill

In an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote last, the House approved legislation extending whistleblower protections to workers in the offshore oil and gas industry.

The Offshore Oil and Gas Worker Whistleblower Protection Act of 2010 (H.R. 5851) passed the full House in a 315-93 vote July 30 -- only four days after it was introduced. The legislation comes shortly after several congressional hearings and news reports revealed workers aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig had concerns regarding the safe operation of the rig but were reluctant to come forward for fear of losing their jobs. The April 20 Deepwater Horizon explosion killed 11 workers.

The bill prohibits employers from firing or discriminating against an employee who reports unsafe conditions or violations of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (.pdf file) to government officials.

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