Employers generally have a duty and obligation to their employees to keep the workplace safe and free of dangerous hazards. This duty is primarily derived from the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (“the Act”). In passing the Act, Congress also created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance. OSHA governs most private sector employers and their workers, in addition to some public sector employers and workers in the 50 states and certain territories and jurisdictions under federal authority.
OSHA’s existence, however, does not guarantee a safe workplace. More importantly, OSHA does not and cannot observe every employer’s business to ensure that OSHA’s health and safety guidelines are being properly followed. In fact, it might be said that the employees themselves are OSHA’s eyes and ears when it comes to workplace safety. If an employee feels that he is being exposed to health and safety risks or hazards at work, he should not hesitate to report this issue to OSHA. Without being informed about safety issues at particular places of employment, OSHA has limited means of addressing and correcting such issues.
Many employees are reluctant to complain to OSHA because they are fearful of retaliation and termination. However, it is a violation of law for an employer to retaliate against an employee for complaining to OSHA. OSHA contains an anti-retaliation provision within the Act, and the Illinois Whistleblower Act also protects employees from being retaliated against for complaining to OSHA about workplace hazards. The Law Office of Jeffrey Friedman, P.C. has handled many cases of retaliation and wrongful termination stemming from an employee’s good faith effort to bring to OSHA’s attention an unsafe or hazardous condition at work.
Please contact the Law Office of Jeffrey Friedman, P.C. at 312-357-1431 if you feel you have been retaliated against or wrongfully terminated for complaining to OSHA, or any other governmental agency, about your workplace safety.