R. Scott Oswald, managing principal of The Employment Law Group® law firm was recently interviewed by Law360 regarding the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) announcement last week that it plans to establish an a Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee dedicated to improving OSHA’s whistleblower protection efforts.
The proposed committee would fulfill and advisory role and make recommendations to the Secretary of Labor on ways to improve the effectiveness and transparency of OSHA’s administration of whistleblower protection laws. The committee would advise on the development and implementation of “improved customer service models” for both whistleblowers and employers, as well as recommend changes to investigator training, and regulations governing OSHA investigations. The move, according to commentators, highlights the government’s reinvigorated focus on protecting employees who report unsafe working conditions, violations of financial and securities law, or other violations.
The proposed committee would likely be comprised of a cross-section of stakeholders representing both employee and management perspectives and would function as a public forum to discuss the whistleblower program.
According to Mr. Oswald, “a committee that includes a broad range of perspectives would also serve to continue the discussions that OSHA had with stakeholders in its efforts to develop the changes it has made so far to improve the process for whistleblowers and corporations.”
Last year OSHA, which enforces the whistleblower provisions of 21 statutes that protect employees who blow the whistle on violations, completed an exhaustive internal review of its whistleblower program and subsequently announced a restructuring of the program, as well as new updates to OSHA’s investigator manuals.
Furthermore, Oswald commented that OSHA’s establishment of an advisory committee “is a continuation of that process meant to ensure that the pragmatic changes that OSHA has established do not in any way erode over time because there will be a group of individuals that have a vested interest in whistleblower programs’ success.”
The article, entitled “OSHA Steps Up Efforts To Revamp Whistleblower Program”, appeared in the May 21, 2012 edition of the web-based legal news service, Law360.
The Employment Law Group® law firm is a leader in the field of whistleblower law and has an extensive nationwide whistleblower practice representing employees who have exposed illegal activity by their employer.