When you arrive to work each day, you have the right to a safe environment. Regular exposure to excessive hazards can compromise your health, interfere with your productivity and threaten your life.
If your employer ignores reports of a hazard after you have notified them of it, you may consider filing a complaint with OSHA. Prior to doing this, you may have concerns that your employer could fire you for ratting them out. Knowing your rights can protect you from getting taken advantage of.
Your employer cannot fire you for reporting health and safety hazards. Responding in this manner is illegal and your employer could face substantial legal penalties. According to the United States Department of Labor, retaliatory behavior also includes the following:
- Threatening your safety
- Publicizing your actions
- Withdrawing your benefits
- Denying you a promotion
- Reducing your compensation
The way your employer should respond is with respect for your actions and empathy for your concerns. They should act promptly to correct the issue in question and cooperate with any third-party investigations.
Protecting your career
Retaliation in the form of unlawful termination can jeopardize your career and leave you scrambling to find another job. You deserve to know that your job and your reputation will remain intact despite your decision to report a hazard. If you anticipate retaliatory behavior or are the victim of retaliation, you can contact the human resources department to inquire about what happened.
Depending on the circumstances, you can possibly negotiate a severance package or get at least some of your benefits. If your employer refuses to address the circumstances, you may choose to file a lawsuit.