It will be interesting to see what the response is to today’s announcement by the Department of Labor that complaints under any of the 22 federal whistleblowing statutes that OSHA enforces may now be filed on line.
Here’s the gist of the DOL press release:
It will be interesting to see how quickly individuals learn of this availability and what happens with the number of complaints. The discrimination/retaliation section is unusual because the individual does not have to designate which statute the complaint is filed under, nor is there any description of what the 22 laws cover.
On the information you are suggested to read before completing the form, OSHA says what is going to happen when the complaint is submitted:
Upon receipt of a complaint, OSHA will contact the complainant to determine whether to conduct an investigation. It is very important that a complainant respond to such contact; if a complainant is unresponsive, OSHA cannot proceed with an investigation and the complaint will be dismissed. If OSHA proceeds with an investigation, the complainant will have an opportunity to offer documents and other evidence in support of the complaint, and the employer will be notified of the allegation and permitted to submit a response.
OSHA does include this admonition:
BY LAW, A COMPLAINANT’S INFORMATION, INCLUDING HIS/HER IDENTITY, MUST BE PROVIDED TO THE EMPLOYER. A WHISTLEBLOWER COMPLAINT FILED WITH OSHA CANNOT BE FILED ANONYMOUSLY.
The announced intention is that everyone who submits a form will be contacted by OSHA.
This is going to be interesting; for employers, not necessarily in a good way.