OSHA gives employers a 3-month reprieve on new anti-retaliation rules
- It looks like employers have caught a reprieve, as new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules prohibiting retaliation against workers who report workplace accidents have been delayed until Nov. 1 from an original Aug. 10 launch, according to Employee Benefits News.
The anti-retaliation provisions are the second of a two-part OSHA initiative. The first part of the rule deals with mandatory annual submission of injury and illness data electronically to OSHA (phased in starting July 1, 2017). Part two includes the anti-retaliation provision and could be the most controversial, EBN reports, as it has already been challenged in a Texas lawsuit brought by eight employer groups.
The Texas employer groups seek injunctive relief "from the new rule generally, or at least as it would apply to employer safety incentive programs" and routine mandatory post-incident drug testing.
EBN reports that the new rule initially provided that beginning Aug. 10, employers would be required to inform employees of their right to report workplace injuries and illness; inform them employers were not permitted to retaliate; establish and widely communicate a reasonable procedure for employee reporting; and provide employees and their representatives with access to non-redacted illness and injury records.
Experts argue that OSHA's health and safety investigators are not trained to deal with retaliation claims and neither are the administrative law judges who hear appeals from OSHA-related cases, so this aspect of the two-part rule changes is causing serious reservations among labor law experts who represent employers..
Legal experts in the EBN article say employers should stick to the status quo regarding record keeping until they receive more OSHA input.
- Benefits News New OSHA anti-retaliation rules deferred to November