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Employee Whistleblower Complaints and Worker Rights in Massachusetts

If you witness a problem at your place of employment and you feel like you’ve been treated unfairly, there’s a new and easier way for you to report it. According to officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), you can now file complaints online. This online form is going to allow workers who have been retaliated against in any way to reach out and get help from officials with OSHA.
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“The ability of workers to speak out and exercise their rights without fear of retaliation provides the backbone for some of American workers’ most essential protections,” said Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.

Our Boston workers’ compensation lawyers understand that whistleblower laws are in place not only to protect our nation’s employees, but to also protect the public at large. Before, employees across the nation could only file a complaint to OSHA by writing in or calling their hotline. Now they can file a whistleblower complaint online.

In the new form, employees are asked to provide basic information and complaint details so that they can be easily contacted by an OSHA employee. These complaints will be routed to the proper local investigators so they can be handled more efficiently.

And to make it even easier, workers are able to download the form so they have the option of submitting a hard-copy, faxing it or dropping it off to a local office. The downloadable version is identical to the on-line version and asks for the same information.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) and a number of other laws protect workers against retaliation for complaining to their employers, unions and other government agencies about unsafe or unhealthy conditions in the workplace, environmental problems, certain public safety hazards, and certain violations of federal provisions concerning securities fraud, as well as for engaging in other related protected activities.

Random Fact: The term whistle-blower comes from the whistle a referee uses to indicate an illegal or foul play. U.S. civic activist Ralph Nader coined the phrase in the early 1970s to avoid the negative connotations found in other words such as “informers” and “snitches”.

If you have been punished or discriminated against for exercising your rights under the OSH Act, you must file a complaint with OSHA within 30 days of the alleged reprisal.

If it’s determined that an investigation is required, your identity will be kept confidential from your company and the inspectors will not identify to your company or coworkers that a whistleblower investigation is taking place.

If retaliation does occur, the whistleblower may be awarded back pay, two times the amount of back pay, litigation costs, and attorney fees.

If you feel like you’re being treated unfairly on the job, you’re also encouraged to recruit professional defense on your behalf. An experienced attorney can provide expert advice and representation on a wide range of whistleblower and employment-related matters.

If you or a loved one has been injured on the job in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation claim– 1-888-367-2900.

More Blog Entries:

OSHA Lists Top Workplace Violations of 2013, Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, December 4, 2013

Fencing Company Fined for Endangering Massachusetts Employees, Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, December 1, 2013