Yes, retaliation is a real possibility for concerned Bay Area, California, employees that report workplace safety issues and violations. It is a conundrum for many because they need their job and don’t like to make waves. At the same time, however, they fear a workplace injury or perhaps death due to unaddressed employment hazards.
The decision to blow the whistle on safety problems at work is yours alone. However, you may find comfort in knowing that there are legal protections in place for all whistleblowers. When employers engage in retaliation, they must answer for such conduct.
To whom should you report retaliation?
When employers retaliate because you blew the whistle on unsafe work conditions, you should file a complaint about the retaliation with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Yes, this is the same organization that receives initial reports regarding dangerous work conditions or job sites.
What employee actions fall under OSHA protection?
If you notify OSHA that your employer violated one or more safety regulations, OSHA works hard to protect you from retaliation. The same is true if you are involved in an OSHA investigation against the employer, even if you did not initiate the complaint. Finally, your boss may not retaliate against you for speaking with an investigating member of OSHA.
What else should you do if retaliation occurs?
When you report whistleblower retaliation to OSHA, you must prove that it occurred. That means gathering evidence and perhaps getting witness corroboration, if available. In most situations, seeking guidance from a legal advocate can help you prove that the retaliation did indeed occur. We also urge you to learn more about whistleblower and retaliation laws in California and nationwide.