Protection From Retaliation for Reporting Violations
The Act expressly protects employees from adverse employment action (discharge or discipline) for exercising rights under the OSH Act. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against an employee as a result of that employee’s having filed a complaint with OSHA, requested an OSHA inspection, talked with OSHA officials, or otherwise assisted OSHA with an investigation. Similar provisions are also incorporated in many states’ “Whistleblowers” laws.
The Act also protects employees who refuse to perform a job task that is likely to cause death or serious injury. Such protection requires that the employee’s refusal be based on a good faith belief of real danger of death or serious injury, that a reasonable person in the employee’s position would conclude the same, that there was/is insufficient time to eliminate the danger through OSHA channels, and the employee had unsuccessfully requested that the employer correct the hazard or risk.