OSHA To Handle Retaliation Complaints Under New Taxpayer First Act

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been granted authority to handle worker retaliation complaints under the Taxpayer First Act (TFA). The statute was signed into law on July 1.

Under the TFA, OSHA will investigate complaints of retaliation against employees for providing information regarding underpayment of tax; violations of internal revenue laws; or violations of federal law relating to tax fraud to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), another federal entity listed in the statute, a supervisor, or any other person working for the employer who has the authority to investigate, discover, or terminate misconduct.

The TFA also prohibits retaliation against employees for testifying, assisting, or participating in any administrative or judicial action taken by the IRS relating to an alleged underpayment of tax, violation of internal revenue law, or violation of federal law relating to tax fraud.

OSHA will process TFA whistleblower complaints using procedures under the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR21), 49 U.S.C. § 42121, until an interim final rule is issued.

OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program enforces the whistleblower provisions of more than 20 whistleblower statutes protecting employees from retaliation for reporting violations of various workplace safety and health, airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health insurance reform, motor vehicle safety, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, securities, and tax laws, and for engaging in other related protected activities. For more information, visit www.whistleblowers.gov.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for American working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.