A Federal Judge ruled Wednesday that OSHA may begin enforcement of the rules set out earlier this year regarding reporting of injuries and illnesses which also included rules on retaliation.
The record keeping and reporting rules that were released earlier this year required employers to have a clear and well understood procedure for reporting workplace injuries. It also prohibited employers from taking any action that could be interpreted as retaliatory for the reporting of such injuries. Among the practices that were deemed retaliatory in nature include withholding of a safety bonus and post-accident drug testing.
We’ve written about this in the past will likely discuss it in the future. The most controversial part of the rule is the drug testing portion. Understand the rule does not prohibit drug testing but it sets the bar significantly higher than it was before. It is also unclear how the rule will be interpreted and enforced by a new labor administrator and secretary under the new administration. Beginning Dec 1. I would look at any thing you do regarding injuries and illnesses and consider whether or not the practice would discourage the reporting of injuries and discontinue those practices.
If you have a bonus program that could be affected by whether or not someone gets hurt, the program should end. Also make sure your employees know how to report an injury and how to get it treated.
More to come on this but we won a big case on the White Collar exemption and lost this one for now.