Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA’s role is to assure the safety and health of workers in Minnesota workers by setting and enforcing standards. If an employee or worker takes it upon himself or herself to report an employer violation that employee or worker cannot be retaliated against. They cannot be retaliated for filing a complaint to OSHA or for reporting a work related injury.
The following are excerpts taken from the OSHA fact sheet for a whistleblower’s rights:
- You may file a complaint with OSHA if your employer retaliates against you by taking unfavorable personnel action because you engaged in protected activity relating to workplace safety and health, commercial motor carrier safety, pipeline safety, air carrier safety, nuclear safety, the environment, asbestos in schools, corporate fraud, SEC rules or regulations, railroad carrier safety or security, or public transportation agency safety or security
- Your employer may be found to have retaliated against you if your protected activity was a contributing or motivating factor in its decision to take unfavorable personnel action against you. Such actions may include:
- Firing or laying off
- Denying overtime or promotion
- Denying benefits
- Failing to hire or rehire
- Reassignment affecting promotion prospects
- Reducing pay or hours
- If you believe that your employer retaliated against you because you exercised your legal rights as an employee, contact your local OSHA office as soon as possible, because you must file your complaint within the legal time limits. OSHA conducts an in-depth interview with each complainant to determine whether to conduct an investigation. For more information, call your closest OSHA Regional Office. A complaint can be filed online. Contact Minnesota OSHA Compliance (OSHA.Compliance@state.mn.us), Phone: 1-877-470-OSHA (1-877-470-6742).
If you have a work related injury, Minnesota law also prohibits your employer from discharging or discriminating against you because of your work related injury, illness or disease. If the injured worker can establish that the employer fires or forces them to resign in retaliation for filing a Workers’ Compensation claim, the worker is allowed under Minnesota work comp to file a civil lawsuit against the employer.
For assistance with your work related retaliation claim, please feel free to contact us at the Law Office of Thomas Mottaz.