Life in the Fast Lane: New OSHA Pilot Program Offers Expedited Review of Whistleblower Complaints

OSHA’s San Francisco region, which includes California, Nevada, and Arizona, launched a new pilot program on August 1, 2016 that would allow complainants, under certain circumstances, to ask OSHA to cease its investigation and issue findings for an ALJ to consider.  The program is an effort to process cases more quickly in the region.  To qualify for expedited treatment, the investigator must first interview the complainant, allow the respondent the opportunity to submit its position statement and meet with OSHA and present statements from witnesses if so desired, and allow the complainant an opportunity to respond to the respondent’s submission.

Once OSHA determines that these criteria are met, they will evaluate the file to determine whether reasonable cause exists to believe that a violation occurred. OSHA officials will then take one of three actions: (1) dismiss the claim and inform the complainant of the right to proceed before an ALJ; (2) issue merit findings as expeditiously as possible; or (3) deny the request.

OSHA’s press release announcing the program can be found here.