If you believe that your employer has discriminated or retaliated against you for raising or reporting safety or health concerns, then there is a violation of whistle blowing laws. You may file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) office in your area, under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act).

If you belong to the trucking industry, you may do the same if you believe that your employer has discriminated against you for reporting safety concerns or for refusing to drive under the dangerous circumstances or in violation of safety rules.

Whistle blowing laws

Besides OSH Act, there are a number of other laws which protect you against retaliation for complaining to your employers, unions, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), or other government agencies about unsafe or unhealthful conditions in the workplace.

Your complaints may also concern environmental problems, certain public safety hazards, certain violations of federal provisions concerning securities fraud. Retaliation, because you engage in other related protected activities, is one form or whistle blowing law violation.

Protected activities include:

  1. Initiating a proceeding under, or for the enforcement of, any of the pertinent statutes, or causing such proceeding to be initiated;

  1. Testifying in any such proceeding;

  1. Assisting or participating in any such proceeding or in any other action to carry out the purposes of the statues;

  1. Complaining about the violation.

Protected activity may be related to any of the following:

· Workplace safety and health

· Commercial motor carrier safety

· Pipeline safety

· Air carrier safety

· Nuclear safety

· Asbestos in school

· Corporate fraud

· SEC Rules and Regulations

· Railroad carrier safety or security

· Public transportation agency safety or security

Violations of whistle blowing laws

The protections accorded to you as an employee prohibit your employer or any person from discharging or otherwise discriminating you with respect to your compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment.

The following actions are indicia of whistle blowing laws violations if made a contributing or motivating factor in the decision to do such act:

  • firing or laying off

  • blacklisting

  • demoting

  • denying overtime or promotion

  • disciplining

  • denying benefits

  • failing to hire or rehire

  • intimidation

  • reassignment affecting promotion prospects

  • reducing pay or hours

Legal remedies

Most labor and public safety laws and many environmental laws mandate whistleblower protections for employees who complain about violations of the law by their employers. Remedies can include:

1. job reinstatement; and

2. payment of back wages.

Time limit

Most of these laws provide that discrimination complaints must be filed 30 days of the alleged retaliation. OSHA Area Office or your employment law lawyer can explain protections against violations of whistle blowing laws and the deadlines for filing complaints.

The laws and periods within which to file your complaints are as follow:

  • Occupational Safety and Health Act – 30 days

  • Surface Transportation and Assistance Act – 180 days

  • Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act – 90 days

  • International Safe Container Act – 60 days

  • Federal Rail Safety Act – 180 days

  • National Transmit Systems Security Act – 180 days