Whistleblower Protection

OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program enforces protections for employees who suffer retaliation for engaging in protected activities under more than 20 federal laws.

The investigation of complaints of retaliation against employees is conducted by investigators in OSHA’s regions. OSHA’s investigators are neutral fact finders; they do not work for either the complainant or respondent (employer).  

In addition to OSHA, the agencies below provide anti-retaliation protections in various capacities:

Worker holding hard hat

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces laws that prohibit discrimination against employees because of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information, and retaliation against employees for opposing such discrimination. To learn more about EEOC's laws, or to file a complaint, visit www.eeoc.gov or call 1-800-669-4000.

The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor enforces Federal laws on the minimum wage, overtime pay, wage recordkeeping, and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Family and Medical Leave Act, migrant and seasonal worker protections, worker protections in certain temporary guest worker programs, and the prevailing wages for government-funded service and construction contracts. To learn more about WHD's laws, or to file a complaint, visit www.dol.gov/whd or call 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243).

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) protects the rights of most private-sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve their wages and working conditions. To learn more about NLRB's laws, or to file a charge, visit www.nlrb.gov or call 1‑866-667-NLRB (6572).

Federal Employees

With the exception of U.S. Postal Service employees, the Occupational Safety and Health Act does not cover retaliation allegations from federal employees, but there are several environmental statutes that do. However, all federal agencies are required to establish procedures to ensure that no employee suffers retaliation for reporting unsafe or unhealthful working conditions, or for otherwise engaging in safety or health activities.

Federal employees who wish to report safety or health hazards should contact their respective agency's Designated Agency Safety and Health Officer (DASHO). See 29 C.F.R. 1960.6 for more information regarding DASHOs. For assistance filing a complaint with a DASHO, federal employees may contact OSHA's Office of Federal Agency Programs. For contact information, visit www.osha.gov/enforcementPlease note that reporting an alleged safety or health hazard to DASHO is not the same as filing a retaliation complaint with the Office of Special Counsel.

The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) handles claims of retaliation within the executive branch of the federal government from current federal employees, former employees, and applicants for federal employment.

Federal employees who believe that they have suffered retaliation for disclosing a violation of a law, rule, or regulation, gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, and/or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, may file a complaint with the OSC. Visit www.osc.gov for more information.