If you lost your job, or are being discriminated against, in Michigan because you made a safety violation report to OSHA, you have rights. There are numerous laws and regulations in place that protect workers from unsafe working conditions and from consequences that may arise from reporting unsafe environments. If you are a victim you should take immediate action.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there are laws protecting whistleblowers who work in almost all private companies and in some federal organizations. OSHA can help those who were not only fired for their reporting, but also those who still have a job but are facing some type of discrimination. This includes:
- An undesirable shift or job assignment
- Reduction in hours or pay
- Benefits denial
- Loss of seniority
Any employee who is experiencing any of the above needs to file a complaint with OSHA, and this needs to be done within 30 days. Proof needs to be shown that any penalties were a direct result of the reporting, and that they happened around the same time. This can be done through witnesses and by documenting all conversations and meetings with the employer. If you had previous stellar performance reviews, these can help your claim as well.
What happens if your employer is found to be in the wrong? The EHS Today reports that in some cases the employer can be sued. In a lawsuit, the Department of Labor can ask for reinstatement of the employee’s prior position, compensatory damages and lost wages, front pay and payment for punitive damages and emotional distress.