Most workers don’t want to get in trouble with their employer, even when they know that their employer is doing something wrong. Unfortunately, this type of thinking contributes to many unsafe workplaces around the country. The people who see something is unsafe are the same ones who are worried about reporting it. The conflict begs the question: “Can you file an OSHA complaint anonymously?”
In what might be an unexpected answer, in most cases, you cannot file an anonymous OSHA complaint. The reasoning is that Occupational Safety and Health Administration needs to know who filed the complaint so it can be validated and then investigated correctly. Specifically, whistleblower complaints with OSHA can’t be filed anonymously. Not coincidentally, most complaints filed to OSHA are whistleblower complaints, such as the one you would file if you noticed an unsafe work condition that your employer refused to address.
Are There Any Anonymous OSHA Reports?
You can request that OSHA keep your complaint anonymous, but it is not guaranteed. An OSHA agent will keep you anonymous if possible. In fact, OSHA is legally bound to protect your identity as it can manage. But, as mentioned, it might not an option if your complaint needs to be investigated.
After you file your complaint with OSHA, it will respond to you for more information. At this point, you have to identify yourself if you have not already but can request to remain anonymous. However, OSHA might be required to identify you to your employer as your complaint develops, so you should always be sure you know what to expect before filing. Talking to a workers’ compensation or employment law attorney can help.
Retaliation is Illegal
You can take some comfort in knowing that your employer legally cannot retaliate against you in any form if you file a complaint with OSHA. Whistleblower laws are in place to protect you from retaliation, like being fired or treated worse at work. Of course, an employer might not care about those laws and retaliate against you all the same, most likely by terminating you. But, at that point, you can file a whistleblower lawsuit against them for compensation.
McHargue & Jones, LLC offers workers’ compensation counsel in Chicago to injured workers. We can help you with a variety of legal concerns about a workplace accident, so contact us now.