If you suffer an injury at work due to your employer's blatant disregard for safety guidelines, you have the right to report the incident. Furthermore, you have the right to do so without fearing retaliation. Notifying the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of unsafe working conditions is a protected act. This means that your employer, or anyone acting on his/her behalf, is prohibited from taking any form of retaliatory action against you.
If your employer has retaliated against you for reporting unsafe conditions at your workplace, remember that you have the right to a safe work environment. An experienced workers' compensation attorney in the Harrisburg area can help protect your rights. Read further for more information on employee rights and retaliation.
OSHA requires that employers follow federal safety protocols in the workplace. Some guidelines are industry specific, such as for construction and mining. Not only must your employer provide a safe work environment, he/she must also keep records of injuries that happen on the job and warn workers of possible hazards. Employers also have to provide new and experienced workers with periodic safety training courses.
Under OSHA guidelines, employers may not take any kind of retaliatory actions against anyone that reported an incident or unsafe conditions. Protections are also in place for workers that help with an OSHA investigation. If your employer has taken retaliatory measures against you, you have 30 days to report it to OSHA. You must be able to prove that your boss's actions directly relate to you filing a previous complaint of unsafe conditions or reporting an accident. Banned forms of retaliation include firing, discrimination, harassment and threats, among others.
After you file a complaint alleging retaliation, OSHA has 90 days to respond. An investigator will look into the matter and determine if you were the victim of your boss's illegal revenge tactics. If the investigator finds in your favor, OSHA will demand that your employer fix the situation. This could include reinstatement into your previous position or monetary compensation for lost wages. If your boss refuses to make the situation right, OSHA can pursue a lawsuit for you.
As an employee, you are entitled to certain rights. For example, your employer has to follow fair wage practices and provide a safe and discrimination-free workplace. If you have been retaliated against for reporting violations, you may be able to receive compensation.