November 18, 2018

Whistleblowers Can File OSHA Complaints Online

Whistleblowers have long been recognized as a check on corporations. In fact, whistleblowers are protected through the Department of Labor under Whistleblower Protection Programs. Any employee who reports a violation of workplace safety, food safety, or other problems cannot be fired, blacklisted, demoted, disciplined, or otherwise retaliated against by the corporation.

Whistle BlowerNow whistleblowers can file OSHA complaints online. OSHA does handle food safety complaints. Abatement requirements were put in place after a March 1999 food poisoning outbreak among garment workers who had eaten at the company cafeteria. Those requirements help ensure that food purchased for distribution to employees if free of harmful chemical and biological contamination, that food served to employees is stored and processed using safe practices, and that illness records are accurate and up to date.

In 2011, OSHA sued Whole Foods for firing a worker for reporting violations about raw sewage spills at a Miami Beach store. That employee reported that a sewer line was spilling into the store. The specialty cheese department was affected. Management failed to correct the problem, so the employee called the company’s tip line. Whole Foods fired the worker three days later.

The online complaint form makes it easier for employees to act. Workers can file a written complaint, call the federal agency, or visit an OSHA office. Complaints are routed to the appropriate regional investigators.

 

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