Can I be fired for being a whistleblower?

Whistleblowers in New York ConstructionIf your construction site has any safety concerns that could cause serious or fatal construction injuries, it is your duty to report these conditions immediately. All workers are given the right to a safe workplace by federal law—and this law also protects workers who report unsafe conditions from retaliation.

Construction Workers Are Protected When Reporting Safety Violations

Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act states that employers are forbidden from taking any adverse action against any employee who reports a safety violation to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Workers also cannot be discriminated against if they request an OSHA inspection, testify in an OSHA proceeding involving the employer, or even for reporting the conditions to their employers.

Adverse actions do not just include the firing of an employee, but other forms of retaliation such as:

  • Reducing a worker’s pay
  • Giving a worker fewer hours
  • Laying off workers
  • Reassigning a worker to a different site or location
  • Blacklisting an employee
  • Demoting a worker with no other cause
  • Failing to pay overtime
  • Denying an earned promotion
  • Taking disciplinary action
  • Denying rightful benefits
  • Failure to hire or rehire a worker who reported a violation
  • Threatening, intimidating, or otherwise harassing an employee

Free Info: Maximize Your Recovery After A Construction Accident

If an employee has been terminated, laid off, or otherwise retaliated against as a result of reporting safety concerns, there are protocols in place for compensation. Firstly, the employee must file a complaint with OSHA describing the adverse action within 30 days of the action. Then, the Department of Labor will perform an investigation into the complaint. If there is a violation, the employer may be charged with labor violations in U.S. district court. Finally, the employer may be ordered to redress the action, including reinstating the employee to full employment with back pay.

It is important to speak up if you notice safety violations at work, and you should be confident in doing so. If you’ve been hurt on a New York City construction site, the experienced construction injury lawyers of Hofmann & Schweitzer can help you hold the negligent party responsible for your lost income, medical care, permanent disability, and pain and suffering. Please contact us online or call us directly at 800.362.9329 to schedule your free initial consultation.

Timothy F. Schweitzer
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Tim Schweitzer is a personal injury lawyer specializing in maritime, construction and railroad injury claims.