OSHA’s Enforcement of Whistleblower Claims Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act

Volume 3, Issue 17
November 19, 2004

Employers may not be aware that in late August, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ("OSHA") published its final regulations establishing procedures for the handling of whistleblower complaints under the Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability Act of 2002, also known as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. This Act is one of 14 laws with whistleblower protections administered by OSHA.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act was enacted to protect employees in publicly traded companies and their contractors, subcontractors or agents from retaliation for providing information that an employee believes is a violation of a Securities and Exchange Commission rule or other federal law relating to fraud against shareholders. Since its inception, OSHA has received 307 Sarbanes-Oxley Act complaints.

The new OSHA regulations establish procedures for the expeditious handling of discrimination complaints made by employees. Included in the rule are procedures for submitting complaints under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, investigations and issuing findings and preliminary orders. The regulations also detail litigation procedures and how one can object to the findings and request a hearing.

OSHA also published a fact sheet last year describing whistleblower protections for workers employed by publicly traded companies or their contractors, subcontractors or agents. The fact sheet details a worker's rights as a whistleblower as well as instructions on how to file complaints.

KZA Employer Report articles are for general information only; they are not intended and should not be construed to be legal advice. Reading or replying to such articles does not establish an attorney-client relationship. In addition, because the subject matters and applicable laws discussed in Employer Report articles are often in a state of change and not always applicable to every type of business entity or organization, readers should consult with counsel before making decisions based on the same.