A report summarizing a “top to bottom review” of OSHA’s whistleblower program includes recommendations made by whistleblower attorney Jason Zuckerman to enhance the program. The report states that Zuckerman expressed the following concerns and offered the following recommendations:
Whistleblower investigators need to be trained and held accountable for their workThere is a level of hostility by some investigatorsIn some whistleblower investigations, decisions are made before the complainant or witness interviews take place. When interviews do take place, there are no probing questionsWithin the whistleblower program and during investigations there is a lack of transparency within OSHAInvestigators are not fully testing the evidenceOSHA is not affording witnesses and employees the opportunity to speak with OSHA without the presence of management. This step would help keep interviews confidentialOSHA needs to form a greater partnership with the complainant’s attorneysOSHA should emphasize early resolution of whistleblower complaintsBelieve in mediation. Mediation should be mandatoryOSHA should create a national mediation officeOSHA creates roadblocks to access of information obtained during the investigationInvestigators need training on conflict resolutionDuring the course of an investigation, if there is additional claims of adverse action, OSHA must amend the complaint and notify the respondent of the amendmentUnder all the new statutes the burden of proof was changed from motivating to contributing, we find that investigators are either not trained on the difference, have not applied the difference or refuse to accept the differenceOSHA should provide investigators with annual legal training
OSHA leadership has undertaken substantial efforts to improve OSHA’s whistleblower protection program and the program is far stronger than it ever was under any prior Administration. Hopefully Congress will provide the resources necessary for OSHA to enforce whistleblower protection laws.
Posted by Jason Zuckerman On January 2, 2014 with 0 CommentsCategories: OSHA Whistleblower Protection Program, Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower, Whistleblower News, Whistleblower Protection LawTags: OSHA enforcement whistleblower laws, OSHA whistleblower investigation, OSHA whistleblower investigator, whistleblower law burden of proof, whistleblower laws
About the Author
Jason Zuckerman, Principal of Zuckerman Law, litigates whistleblower retaliation, qui tam, wrongful discharge, discrimination, non-compete, and other employment-related claims. He is rated 10 out of 10 by Avvo, was recognized by Washingtonian magazine as a “Top Whistleblower Lawyer” in 2007 and 2009 and selected by his peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America® and in SuperLawyers.