In fact, OSHA’s statistics tell a troubling story. In fiscal 2019, OSHA reported receiving 2,084 complaints of retaliation under Section 11(c) of the OSH Act, 29 U.S.C. § 660(c). Of those, 545 complaints were settled, OSHA dismissed 1,067, and only 14 resulted in a finding of merit. As a labor lawyer, I know that record simply is not good enough to encourage workers to speak up about the lack of protection in their workplaces. The 1,067 employees in 2019 who did not get a merit finding from OSHA have no right to a hearing and no right to go to court. If the meat and poultry industries’ response to the novel coronavirus has told us anything, with employees dying from the virus and the survivors concealing their identities when telling their stories for fear of losing their jobs, it is that Congress needs to modernize this antiquated whistleblower protection.
Richard R. Renner, Silver Spring