Final rule on whistleblowing published

On July, 27 2012 the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published the final rule addressing retaliation complaints claims under the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA).

The new rule puts employers in violation who intimidate, threaten, restrain, coerce, blacklist, discharge, disciple, harass, suspend, demote, or in any other manner retaliate against any employee for filing a complaint about an alleged safety or security violation.

To qualify for protections the employee must have sought from the employer – and been unable to obtain – correction of the hazardous safety or security condition.

Whistleblower complaints must be filed – either orally or written – within 180 days after the alleged violation occurred.

If an employer is found in violation of the whistle blower law, they may be required to reinstate the employee to his/her former job with the same compensation, issue back pay and pay their litigation costs.

If companies fail to comply with the order, including settlement agreements under STAA, the U.S. Secretary of Labor may file a civil action seeking enforcement of the order in the U.S. District court where the violation occurred.

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