OSHA Issues Final Rule Establishing Procedures for Handling Retaliation Complaints under the Food Safety Modernization Act
Released by OSHA Office of Communications
On April 18, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a final rule establishing procedures for handling retaliation complaints under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. The final rule also explains the burdens of proof, remedies and statute of limitations similar to other whistleblower protection statutes that OSHA administers.
Section 402 of FSMA, signed into law January 2011, protects employees who disclose information about a possible violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act from retaliation by employers that manufacture, process, pack, transport, distribute, receive, hold or import food.
“Food industry workers must never be silenced by the threat of losing their jobs when their safety or the safety of the public is at stake,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “This rule underscores the agency’s commitment to protect the rights of workers who report illegal activity in their workplace.”
In 2014, OSHA published an interim final rule and requested public comments. This final rule responds to those comments, clarifies the agency’s policy regarding approval of settlement agreements, and improves consistency with the language of the statute, other OSHA whistleblower regulations, and developments in applicable case law.
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various workplace, commercial motor vehicle, airline, nuclear, pipeline, environmental, railroad, public transportation, maritime, consumer product, motor vehicle safety, health care reform, corporate securities, food safety and consumer financial reform regulations. Additional information is available at www.whistleblowers.gov.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.
For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
Ed. Note: For whistleblowers in NC, the House Bill 405 may prevent or deter whistleblowers due to civil penalties for providing information/video about an employer or business to the media or others outside of the business or applicable government agency. The OSHA final rule doesn’t necessarily project a whistleblower in NC from these penalties.