Workplace safety is crucial to successful job performance. Yet employer and employee negligence are all too common. You may find yourself in an environment where dangers abound. You may want to report them. But you might fear the potential retaliation that whistleblowers often endure.
Reporting workplace dangers isn’t only the right thing to do – it’s the legal thing to do. If you’re in a situation where you must do so, keeping these tips in mind can protect your colleagues’ safety and your standing.
Complaints are anonymous
Many people fail to report workplace dangers because they’re scared of blowback. But when filing a complaint or requesting an inspection with your state’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) office, you remain anonymous. You have the option of making your complaint by phone or filing it online through the agency’s website. The online option may lead to quicker, more decisive action against your employer.
Retaliation is illegal
Yet your employer might still suspect you of acting as the whistleblower. They may try retaliating against you for reporting them, and could attempt to demote you, transfer you, or fire you. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, this is illegal. If your employer engages in these practices – or other forms of retaliation – by law, you have a 30-day window to file a complaint to OSHA against them.
Stay on top of your claim
Your employer may have misled or deceived you about the grounds of your retaliation. If this is so, you can file a discrimination complaint outside the 30-day window. Regardless, OSHA may conclude that the evidence you presented does not constitute retaliation. In this case, consulting with a personal injury lawyer can help you work toward proving your discrimination claim.
Filing a complaint against an unsafe workplace may feel as hazardous as your job’s conditions. Yet the dangers you face on the job could worsen if you don’t act. By understanding the benefits and potential challenges of reporting, you can find peace of mind in doing so – no matter the outcome.