The US Department of Labor recently reported in a press release that a trucking company was required to pay upwards of $145,000 in back wages and damages after an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigation found the employer retaliated against two employees who complained. Specifically, the employer issued “disciplinary points” to the two workers when they refused to drive a commercial motor vehicle after they complained of feeling too sick or fatigued to drive safely. One of the workers was ultimately terminated. OSHA enforces the anti-retaliation provisions of twenty-five statutes relating to safety. Even if you are not a federal or state employee, there are additional laws which have anti-retaliation provisions.
Employers can protect themselves by:
1. Creating a policy around reporting concerns
2. Ensuring there is a corresponding process
3. Investigating complaints in a timely manner
4. Addressing violations of the policy
Southwestern HR Consulting (SWHRC) can review your handbook and provide an updated document based on your business and number of employees. If you need an outside investigation, we can conduct one and provide recommendations to help you address the policy.
Written by | Magdalena Vigil-Tullar
HR Consultant | MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CLRP