OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is a federal administration created in 1970 aimed at protecting the health and safety of America's workforce. Over the years, many laws and mandates have been advocated and approved thanks to the OSHA. One of the important sectors of OSHA is the Whistleblowers Protection Program. This program aims at protecting people who speak up about unlawful workplace conditions or wrongful termination.
California has laws that are in accordance with or stricter than OSHA. California is part of Region IX of OSHA and the main office is located in San Francisco. The word "whistleblower" is a term used to describe a person who brings attention to any wrongdoing by employer to employee. The rights afforded by OSHA's Whistleblower program include:
- A worker's ability to participate in safety-related activities
- A worker's ability to report injuries, fatalities or illnesses at work
- A worker's ability to report any possible violations of statutes
An example of a whistleblower facing retaliation is a whistleblower being reprimanded for bringing their management's mishandling of a wrongful termination to higher management. Higher management could be considered the board of directors of the company or, if they have already been notified without result, it could mean notifying OSHA itself. Wrongful termination can occur for a multitude of reasons, however if the person was fired on grounds that violate their rights, they could have a claim that should be brought to the attention of OSHA.
OSHA is a great agency to have on a worker's side if he or she is involved in a wrongful termination lawsuit. They are the governing body for workplace safety and health. OSHA is not the only entity that should be contacted in case of a wrongful termination, however. It can be extremely beneficial to have an employment law attorney assess your needs in order to determine if monetary rewards should be sought in a wrongful termination suit.
Source: whistleblowers.gov, "Home," Accessed September 28, 2014