OSHA to Protect Workers Who Report Unsafe Conditions

April 8, 2020

3 Min Read
OSHA to Protect Workers Who Report Unsafe Conditions

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a statement Wednesday to remind employers that retaliation – including terminations, demotions, denials of overtime or promotion, or reductions in pay or hours – against workers who call out unsafe working conditions during the COVID-19 crisis is illegal. 

“Employees have the right to safe and healthy workplaces,” Principal Deputy Assistant Loren Sweatt said in an agency press release. “Any worker who believes that their employer is retaliating against them for reporting unsafe working conditions should contact OSHA immediately.”

Workers who believe an employer has retaliated against them for calling out safety and health hazards have the right to file a whistleblower complaint with OSHA online or by calling (800) 321-OSHA. 

The agency oversees the enforcement of over 20 whistleblower statutes that protect workers who report food safety, workplace safety and health, environmental, and other violations. 

OSHA’s announcement comes as some manufacturing plants are facing employee absenteeism and walkouts due to concerns about workplace safety during the coronavirus pandemic. In late March, about 50 workers staged a walkout at the Perdue Farms poultry plant in Kathleen, GA, alleging that the company was failing to keep workers safe. 

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