www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/omb-completes-review-of-proposed-whistleblower-rule-2

OMB completes review of proposed whistleblower rule

January 7, 2011

Washington – The Office of Management and Budget on Dec. 28 completed its review of a proposed final rule that would provide whistleblower protections for some government employees.

According to Procedures for Handling Discrimination Complaints Under Federal Employee Protection Statutes, employees at the Department of Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission would be covered under the Energy Reorganization Act, which provides occupational safety and health discrimination protections. Employees, contractors and subcontractors at nuclear power plants licensed by NRC and employees of contractors under contract with DOE already are covered.

Additionally, the new rule will feature a "kick-out" provision, allowing complainants to seek relief in district court if the secretary of labor has not issued a final decision within a year of the complaint being filed.

The rule, originally received by OMB on Aug. 26, is one of several that OSHA recently has proposed to shore up whistleblower protections.

"OSHA has begun to address the institutional and administrative barriers that stand between whistleblowers and justice," OSHA staff said in a Jan. 5 webchat with stakeholders. Several whistleblower regulations were planned to be published this year, the staff said.