Employers cannot retaliate against workers who report unsafe conditions during coronavirus pandemic, officials say

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The U.S Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is reminding employers that it is illegal to retaliate against workers because they report unsafe and unhealthful working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic.

Acts of retaliation can include terminations, demotions, denials of overtime or promotion, or reductions in pay or hours, according to a press release.

“Employees have the right to safe and healthy workplaces,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt. “Any worker who believes that their employer is retaliating against them for reporting unsafe working conditions should contact OSHA immediately.”

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Workers have the right to file a whistleblower complaint online with OSHA (or 1-800-321-OSHA) if they believe their employer has retaliated against them for exercising their rights under the whistleblower protection laws enforced by the agency.

OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program webpage provides valuable resources on worker rights, including fact sheets on whistleblower protections for employees in various industries and frequently asked questions.

For more information on whistleblower protections, visit OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Programs webpage.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.