Today, most employees are considered “at-will”, meaning that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any legal reason. However, there are situations where an employer cannot fire an employee because that employee is protected.
Generally speaking, an employer would commit wrongful termination in the following situations:
- An employee refused to engage in illegal activities in the workplace;
- An employee is terminated due to their race, ethnicity, gender, disability, pregnancy, or another status that is protected under state and federal civil rights laws;
- An employee engaged in whistleblowing or reporting legal violations to a federal agency or leadership, such as OSHA.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the federal agency that oversees safety in the workplace. OSHA sets the safety standards that employers must follow and federal laws state that it is illegal for an employer to fire someone for reporting OSHA violations that have occurred.
Steps to Take If You Have Been Terminated Due to Reporting Violations to OSHA
If you have been terminated from your job because you have reported violations to OSHA, you have legal rights.
- Contact OSHA – While OSHA will keep your report confidential, it is possible that your employer could find out that you reported a violation to OSHA. If you have been terminated, demoted, or have suffered any other adverse employment action, you may have legal recourse under wrongful termination and must file a second report with OSHA. OSHA will investigate your claim and help to resolve your dispute.
- Prepare paperwork – Whistleblower paperwork can be either submitted online or in written form to OSHA. This form will require specific information, including:
- Your date of hire and termination;
- The name of the person who retaliated against you;
- The type of adverse employment action that you suffered;
- The date(s) of retaliation;
- The reasons (if any) that your employer provided for your termination;
- The actual reasons you believe you suffered an adverse employment action; and
- Any other pertinent information about your OSHA complaint and the retaliatory discharge, including witness information, written communication, pay stubs, and/or other documents that are pertinent to your claim.
For most OSHA wrongful termination claims you will have 30 days to file your complaint, however, some claims have a longer filing deadline. OSHA has compiled a list of filing deadlines on its website and an experienced personal injury attorney can also advise you on your time constraints.
- Participate in the OSHA investigation – Once OSHA receives your wrongful termination complaint, they will begin to process your claim, including providing you with a letter confirming your complaint and a case number. OSHA will not perform a full investigation of every complaint; full investigations only occur when the complaint is filed before the filing deadline, there is clear evidence of wrongful termination, and your claim is covered by OSHA.
The investigation process can take weeks or months depending on the complexity of your case. After reviewing all the evidence, OSHA will make a determination whether a violation occurred and may settle the case with your employer or file a lawsuit on your behalf demanding compensation. Regardless of the outcome, you have the ability to file an appeal.
While you cannot file a personal lawsuit under OSHA laws, it is still in your best interest to hire a personal injury lawyer when dealing with wrongful termination. You may have claims under multiple laws and mistakes can lead to dismissal of your case.
We at Mike Agruss Law are proud to serve our fellow citizens in personal injury cases, especially when you or a loved one has been injured, and we are fully committed to protecting your rights and ensuring that the other party is held legally accountable when negligence occurs. We will fight until the very end to ensure that you are fully compensated for all injuries and losses resulting from the accident, including medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering, and you won’t owe us a dime for our services.
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Helping our clients is about counseling, advocating, and ultimately solving problems. With years of experience successfully representing the people, not the powerful, we will take care of the insurance adjusters, your medical bills, your property damage, your lost wages, and monitor your treatment so you can focus on healing and getting your life back to normal. Our unique formula has earned us over 900 outstanding client reviews on our website, an A+ BBB rating, and over 120 five-star reviews on Google. Call 888-572-0176, e-mail us at [email protected], or schedule meeting with us here. We’re here 24/7.