OSHA to Probe Whistleblower Claims Under New Laws

OSHA, under the Department of Labor, will now investigate allegations of employee retaliation over whistleblower complaints.

The US Department of Labor’s worker safety agency will now be responsible for investigating individual complaints of retaliation for whistleblowers reporting suspected criminal antitrust violations or violations related to money laundering.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will oversee allegations of retaliation against employees under the provisions enforced in is Whistleblower Protection Program, the DOL announced on Friday.

“Until OSHA issues interim final rules, the agency will process whistleblower complaints related to these statutes using procedures under the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century,” the agency said.

OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program already enforces the provisions of 20 different whistleblower statutes related to shielding employees from retaliation for reporting violations of various commercial practices.

This new move from the DOL follows the passing of the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act in December, which heightens protections for whistleblowers reporting antitrust violations and offers safeguards to those who provide relevant information on violations of sections 1 or 3 of the Sherman Act.

Under the act, if an employer faces retaliation for whistleblowing, they can file a grievance with the DOL – which, if successful, will force the employer to reinstate the employee with full back pay, interest and special damages compensation.

New tools specifically designed for tackling money laundering were introduced by Congress in the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020, giving prosecutors greater scope for detecting and stopping the movement of dirty money.

Legal sector insiders expect the DOL to shift its focus towards money laundering and antitrust violations once the nomination of attorney general Merrick Garland is confirmed.

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