Archive for the ‘OSHA’ Category

OSHA Finalizes Rules on Whistleblower Provisions Under Six Environmental Statutes and the Energy Reorganization Act

OSHA published a final rule in the federal register last week that intends to make the procedures for handling retaliation complaints under six environmental whistleblower statutes and Section 211 of the Energy Reorganization Act (ERA) “as consistent as possible” with similar procedures under other OSHA-administered whistleblower provisions.

Photo from Zephyris. Some rights reserved.

Whisteblower provisions protect employees from being discharged or otherwise retaliated against for actions such as notifying their employers of a potential company violation, complaining to OSHA about company practices, or testifying in an OSHA proceeding. While OSHA is most commonly associated with the retaliation protections under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, OSHA also administers and enforces whistleblower provisions under a variety of statutes protecting employees in industries ranging from nuclear energy to health care reform.

Today’s action affects the whistleblower provisions under the following federal statutes: the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Solid Waste Disposal Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, as well as the aforementioned Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, all of which are covered by the regulations under 29 CFR Part 24, “Procedures for the Handling of Retaliation Complaints under Federal Employee Protection Statutes.”

Whatever level of consistency across statutes OSHA was aiming for, law firm Fulbright & Jaworski points out that “distinctions still exist regarding applicable burdens of proof, filing deadlines, and available damages.” You can read the firm’s Briefing for a thorough discussion of these distinctions.

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