Employers have responsibilities in regards to keeping a workplace free from harm and allowing employees to feel at their safest. Here are some of the responsibilities that an employer has to follow through with this:
• Provide a workplace free of hazards, through rules and regulations issued under the OSH Act
• Examine all workplace conditions to meet these standards
• Make sure that all employees are equipped with safe tools and equipment as well as maintaining equipment
• Establish and update all operating procedures
• Keep records of all work-related injuries and illnesses
• Refuse to discriminate against employees
Yes, many workplaces follow these simple rules to assure that workers stay safe. However, when a workplace is not following safety rules, typically an employee known as a whistleblower will come forth with allegations. If dangers to public health and safety go unreported, more people could be caused harm. However, many whistleblowers bringing light to the public are afraid of retaliation and being fired for their actions. This is why laws have been put in place to protect laws, such as antidiscrimination laws, wage and hour protections, health and safety laws, and more. This makes it illegal for an employer to retaliate against someone who engages in conduct that laws protect.
Section 11 of the OSH Act adds protections for employers so that they cannot be discriminated against. This is important because, if more employees fail to report injuries or illnesses, then the employer’s workforce is put at risk because of these violations. There are some workplace policies and practices that have been put in place to discourage reporting and could constitute unlawful discrimination. Here are some of these discriminatory policies:
• Reports of employers who took disciplinary action against employees who are injured on the job, regarding of the circumstances surrounding the injury
• An employee may report an injury and be disciplined, and the stated reason ends up being because the employee violated a rule about the time or manner for reporting injuries and illnesses
• An employee reports an injury and the employer imposes discipline on the grounds that the injury resulted from a violation of a safety rule
• Incentive programs put in place to not report injuries
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Incentive programs are some of the most negative and illegal actions that an employer can take. These programs discourage employees from reporting their injuries. This discriminates against the employee because it is an exercised right to report injuries. Employers have gone far in this process, such as entering all employees into a raffle to win a prize if they have not been injured. There are much better and more legal practices surrounding safe work practices and what regulations should come into play.
Many practices are being signed into law to protect employees from discrimination and retaliation. Every employee should have the right to report injuries and illnesses occurring in the workplace. Call us today if you or someone you know has suffered a workplace injury and you feel the need to keep it to yourself because your employer has been unfair in the past. You have rights. At Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi we can help you with your case in your time of need.