OSHA developed an early resolution process to resolve whistleblower complaints.
The new process is to be used as part of a regional Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program, which offers whistleblower parties the opportunity to negotiate a settlement with the assistance of a neutral, confidential OSHA representative who has subject-matter expertise in whistleblower investigations.
"OSHA receives several thousand whistleblower complaints for investigation each year," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.
"The Alternative Dispute Resolution process can be a valuable alternative to the expensive and time consuming process of an investigation and litigation. It will provide whistleblower complainants and respondents the option of exploring voluntary resolution of their disputes outside of the traditional investigative process."
After OSHA piloted an ADR program from October 2012 to September 2013 in two of its regions, the agency determined it to be a successful program that “demonstrated that having staff dedicated to facilitating settlement negotiations provides an efficient and effective service that is highly desired by complainants and respondents alike.”
Because of the success of the pilot program, OSHA rolled out the program to all of its regions.