The Occupational Safety and Health Administration works to protect employees from unsafe working conditions, no matter the sector. The United States Department of Labor reports that protection exists for more than 20 current laws for whistleblowers who publicly report safety and health violations.
Awareness of these laws may help protect you and your fellow employees if unsafe conditions arise at your place of employment.
Under OSHA guidelines, your workplace cannot retaliate against you for reporting any unsafe or unhealthy conditions. Retaliation tactics are sometimes subtle and may include:
- Withholding promotion
- Reducing work hours
- Exclusion from employee meetings
If you suspect your employer is using these tactics against you, it is important to act right away and report the alleged behavior before it escalates.
Your sector rights
While your place of employment may affect the conditions under which your whistleblower actions exist, there are many different health and safety rights that protect you. For example, whether you work in a private or federal sector, you have the right to clean drinking water and as such, OSHA law protects you from retaliation if you report any unsafe conditions.
State and municipal laws
OSHA provides protection for employees working under state and municipal laws, including towns, cities and villages. While these areas might have their own individual regulations, they must also obey laws related to clean air and the disposal of solid waste. You may want to contact OSHA and discuss any concerns you have, as well as to realize your rights as a whistleblower working under state or municipal laws.
Whistleblower statutes may vary widely depending on the type and location of the alleged violation. Many statutes have time limitations for filing, so respondents may want to act quickly to protect their rights.