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US OSHA encouraging whistleblower claims



United States Publication July 2021

United States Department of Labor Secretary Marty Walsh has released a statement reminding employees that their employers cannot retaliate against them for lodging purported "whistleblower" complaints for various work-related activities and circumstances. National Whistleblower Appreciation Day is July 30, 2021.

Our US Health and Safety Law team has reported previously on the robust federal OSHA and other whistleblower protection statutory schemes that extend to virtually every area of employment. Employers would be well served to remind their Human Resources personnel to familiarize themselves with the relevant statutes that govern their workplaces to ensure appropriate risk management in dealing with employee complaints.

Companies should keep in mind that whistleblowers can raise allegations concerning enforcement issues too. As such, companies are well advised to make regular reviews of their compliance system to ensure their effectiveness. Effective compliance systems are measured by the DOJ pursuant to "Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs" policy updated just last year, which in part highlighted that reporting mechanisms should be publicized to relevant third parties, not just internally, as well as assessed for parties' awareness of and comfort level in using these systems. Demonstrating efforts to create a truly effective compliance system can help avoid a company facing serious criminal charges and penalties.

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