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Can you be fired for reporting a safety hazard?

You may face unsafe conditions in your Michigan workplace on a daily basis, but with the reasonable expectation that your employer will make every attempt to eliminate or protect against safety hazards. What if you uncover a safety hazard that your employer will not mitigate, however? If you choose to report the safety hazard to OSHA to prevent a workplace accident, can your employer fire you if they discover you reported?

No. Technically if you file a report to OSHA, your employer should not even know that you reported the hazard because the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970 mandates that your identity remain confidential if you so choose. However, even if your employer discerns based on prior information or suspicions that you are the one who filed the report, any termination based on that report would be considered an unfair dismissal by the U.S. Department of Labor.

OSHA offers options to file a complaint online, file a complaint by phone or male/fax in forms provided on their website. The report will trigger an investigation by OSHA. You are not required to know the exact specific standard being violated by the potential safety hazard to file a report. You can also file a report if you feel that your employer is not following OSHA compliant standards. You can also call your local or regional OSHA office if you feel the danger posed by the safety hazard is immediate and life-threatening.

This has been an informational blog post that should not be considered a substitute for legal advice.

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