Whistleblowers are employees and workers who “blow the whistle” on wrongdoing in the workplace: they are witnesses to all sorts of unlawful practices, but especially important are those who come forward about dangerous safety and health code violations. These men and women undertake great risk to speak up about wrongs being done.
Whistleblowers are vital to the safety of any workplace, but especially the dangerous work environments found in steel mills, auto manufacturing plants, construction sites, and the like. Whistleblowers can save lives – often at the risk of their own.
This month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) added online support to its whistleblower protection program, by creating a new whistleblower web site, www.whistleblowers.gov. According to OSHA, the new site is designed “…to provide workers, employers, and the public with easily accessible information about the 18 federal whistleblower protection statutes that OSHA currently administers.”
Whistleblowers.org – Information Hub for Workers Blowing the Whistle on Wrongdoing
At Whistleblowers.org, visitors can find current information regarding all the various statutes and agency regulations established under federal law to protect workers coming forward with evidence of employer wrongdoing (“whistleblower laws”). State laws are not covered by the new site.
According to the agency’s news release, “OSHA doesn’t work unless workers feel secure in exercising their rights,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels. “This Web page is part of OSHA’s promise to stand by those workers who have the courage to come forward when they know their employer is cutting corners on safety and health.”
The Federal Whistleblower Laws
Indiana, Illinois, and other states have their own set of laws protecting whistleblowers. However, the federal government has been proactive in protecting these workers and the following federal laws are in place to protect whistleblowers today (click here for links to the particular provision):
• Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 29 U.S.C. §660
• Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA), 49 U.S.C. §31105
• Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA), 15 U.S.C. §2651
• International Safe Container Act (ISCA), 46 App U.S.C. §1506
• Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), 42 U.S.C. §300j-9(i)
• Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA), 33 U.S.C. §1367
• Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), 15 U.S.C. §2622
• Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA), 42 U.S.C. §6971
• Clean Air Act (CAA), 42 U.S.C. §7622
• Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), 42 U.S.C. §9610
• Energy Reorganization Act (ERA), 42 U.S.C. §5851
• Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR21), 49 U.S.C. §42121
• Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability Act, Title VIII of the Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOX), 18 U.S.C. §1514A
• Pipeline Safety Improvement Act (PSIA), 49 U.S.C. §60129
• Federal Rail Safety Act (FRSA), 49 U.S.C. §20109
• National Transit Systems Security Act (NTSSA), 6 U.S.C. §1142
• Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), 15 U.S.C. §2087
• Section 1558 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), P.L. 111-148
• 29 CFR Part 1977 – Discrimination Against Employees Exercising Rights under the Williams-Steiger Occupational Safety and Health Act
• 29 CFR Part 1978 – Rules for Implementing Section 405 of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982
• 29 CFR Part 1979 – Procedures for the Handling of Discrimination Complaints under Section 519 of the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century
• 29 CFR Part 1980 – Procedures for the Handling of Discrimination Complaints under Section 806 of the Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability Act of 2002
• 29 CFR Part 1981 – Procedures for the Handling of Discrimination Complaints under Section 6 of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002
• 29 CFR Part 24 – Interim Final Rule, Procedures for the Handling of Retaliation Complaints under the Employee Protection Provisions of Six Federal Environmental Statutes and Section 211 of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, as amended
Here at Kenneth J. Allen & Associates Law Firm, we commend those who have the courage and integrity to risk their jobs and livelihoods, and even their physical safety, to come forward and speak the truth about dangers in the workplace. If there is any way that we can be of help, please feel free to call.