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Increased Protection for Employees Who Blow the Whistle on Workplace Safety

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) recently memorialized their collaborative agreement to engage in information sharing between the agencies regarding the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), namely its anti-retaliation provision and other whistleblower provisions. 

The NLRA “prohibits unfair labor practices which restrain or coerce employees" in exercise of their right to unionize. The OSH Act prohibits discrimination against employees because they filed a safety complaint. 

The NLRB and OSHA have agreed to share information relating to their enforcement mechanisms, including complaint referrals and investigative files. 

Jennifer Abruzzo, NLRB general counsel, and Douglas Parker, OSHA secretary of Labor, told Law360, “The agencies will hold training sessions for each other's employees, partner on investigations and commit to the enforcement of anti-retaliation laws that protect workers who speak out about work safety issues."

This collaboration provides enhanced protection for workers and serves as a preventive approach to improving workplace relations. 

Workplace safety can be a matter of life and death for workers, and so the ability to report workplace hazards without fear of retaliation is critically important, Abruzzo said in a statement.


labor and employment, retaliation, workplace safety