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OSHA Says Workers Do Not Have to Waive Whistleblower Rights

By Nickole C. Winnett
  • October 20, 2016

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued new guidance designed to protect the rights of whistleblowers who reach settlements approved by OSHA.

The three-page memorandum, issued August 23, 2016, and released September 15, 2016, revised portions of OSHA’s Whistleblower Investigations Manual (CPL 02-03-007).

The manual already states OSHA will not approve a “gag” provision restricting an employee’s ability to participate in investigations or offer testimony or file later complaints.

The revision identifies other settlement provisions that OSHA will not accept, including:

  • waiving the right to a cash reward;
  • requiring the employee to return a portion of the cash reward to the employer;
  • mandating workers notify employers before contacting the government; and
  • requiring workers affirm to employers that they had not had other contacts with the government.

OSHA issued the guidance after the Government Accountability Project, an advocacy organization, petitioned the agency last year to clarify that it will not approve settlements that discourage whistleblowers.

Please contact Jackson Lewis with any questions about compliance with this and other regulations.

©2016 Jackson Lewis P.C. This Update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney/client relationship between Jackson Lewis and any readers or recipients. Readers should consult counsel of their own choosing to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without the express written consent of Jackson Lewis.

This Update may be considered attorney advertising in some states. Furthermore, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Jackson Lewis P.C. represents management exclusively in workplace law and related litigation. Our attorneys are available to assist employers in their compliance efforts and to represent employers in matters before state and federal courts and administrative agencies. For more information, please contact the attorney(s) listed or the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work.

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