OSHA announces final rule on handling retaliation complaints
OSHA this week published a final rule finalizing procedures for handling whistleblower retaliation complaints filed under Section 806 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. The SOX Act protects employees who report fraudulent activities and violations of Securities Exchange Commission rules that can harm investors in publicly traded companies.
Safeguards investors, too
"Silencing workers who try to do the right thing is unacceptable," said Assistant Secretary of Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "This final rule safeguards investors by protecting whistleblowers who shine a light on illegal or fraudulent conduct that otherwise may go uncorrected."
SOX prohibits publicly-traded companies, nationally recognized statistical ratings organizations, and other covered persons from retaliating against an employee who provides information about conduct that the employee reasonably believes violates federal mail, wire, bank or securities fraud statutes, SEC rules, or any provision of federal law relating to fraud against shareholders.
Workers can file a complaint with OSHA if they believe that their employer has retaliated against them for exercising their rights under SOX. OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Programs Web page provides instructions on how to file a complaint and information on worker rights and protections.
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of SOX and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various workplace, commercial motor vehicle, airline, nuclear, pipeline, environmental, railroad, public transportation, maritime, consumer product, motor vehicle safety, health care reform, food safety and consumer financial reform regulations. Additional information is available at http://www.whistleblowers.gov.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.