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Whistleblower Protection Program Review Cites Jason Zuckerman’s Recommendations

A report summarizing a “top to bottom review” of OSHA’s whistleblower program includes recommendations made by whistleblower attorney Jason Zuckerman to enhance the program.  The report states that Zuckerman expressed the following concerns and offered the following recommendations:

    • Whistleblower investigators need to be trained and held accountable for their work
    • There is a level of hostility by some investigators
    • In some whistleblower investigations, decisions are made before the complainant or witness interviews take place. When interviews do take place, there are no probing questions
    • Within the whistleblower program and during investigations there is a lack of transparency within OSHA
    • Investigators are not fully testing the evidence
    • OSHA is not affording witnesses and employees the opportunity to speak with OSHA without the presence of management. This step would help keep interviews confidential
    • OSHA needs to form a greater partnership with the complainant’s attorneys
    • OSHA should emphasize early resolution of whistleblower complaints
    • Believe in mediation. Mediation should be mandatory
    • OSHA should create a national mediation office
    • OSHA creates roadblocks to access of information obtained during the investigation
    • Investigators need training on conflict resolution
    • During the course of an investigation, if there is additional claims of adverse action, OSHA must amend the complaint and notify the respondent of the amendment
    • Under all the new statutes the burden of proof was changed from motivating to contributing, we find that investigators are either not trained on the difference, have not applied the difference or refuse to accept the difference
    • OSHA should provide investigators with annual legal training

OSHA leadership has undertaken substantial efforts to improve OSHA’s whistleblower protection program and the program is  far stronger than it ever was under any prior Administration.  Hopefully Congress will provide the resources necessary for OSHA to enforce whistleblower protection laws.

Jason Zuckerman, Principal of Zuckerman Law, litigates whistleblower retaliation, qui tam, wrongful discharge, and other employment-related claims. He is rated 10 out of 10 by Avvo, was recognized by Washingtonian magazine as a “Top Whistleblower Lawyer” in 2015 and selected by his peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America® and in SuperLawyers.