Many workers do not report workplace injuries because they fear retaliation such as harassment, wrongful termination or being passed over for promotions. To encourage workers to report accidents or work-related illnesses, new rules will take effect November 1st, 2016.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administrations’s final rule will require employers to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation. Employers must establish a reasonable procedure for employees to report work-related injuries and illnesses and may not discriminate against employees who do.
With the exception of using drug testing to comply with the requirements of state or federal laws or regulations, the new rule will also prohibit employers from using drug testing (or the threat of drug testing) as a form of adverse action against employees who report injuries or illnesses.
It is important for workers to understand that they are protected under federal and state laws from being fired, harassed, or discriminated against by their employers if they report a workplace injury or illness, or if they file for workers’ compensation. Workers should also be aware that there are protections in place for employees who report safety or health complaints under OSHA.