How Does Whistleblower Protection Work?
Utah Code Ann. §34A-6-201 requires all employers to “furnish to each of its employees employment and a place of employment that are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to its employees; and comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this chapter.”
The Utah Occupational Safety and Health Act (Act) allows an employee to file a complaint of hazards in their workplace without fear of retaliation from the employer. It also protects employees who have testified or is about to testify in any proceeding, related to occupational safety and health, or exercises any right granted by the Act on the behalf of the employee or others.
The Whistleblower division of UOSH investigates alleged discriminatory act(s) by an employer in the state of Utah.
Initiating a Whistleblower Investigation
An employee who believes that the employee has been discharged or otherwise retaliated against by any person in violation of the Utah Occupational Safety and Health Act may file a complaint alleging discharge or retaliation.
The complaint must be filed within 30 days after the violation has allegedly occurred. The employee can also dual file the complaint with the Regional OSHA office in Denver, CO.
The UOSH Whistleblower Investigator is a neutral fact-finder who does not represent the employee or the employer.
The investigator will notify the Complainant (the employee filing the complaint) and the Respondent (employer who is accused of alleged discrimination) that an investigation has been opened by UOSH.
The investigator will collect evidence from both the Complainant and the Respondent related to the alleged discriminatory act.
Both parties should provide contact information for witnesses who could support or refute the alleged retaliation.
The Respondent will be asked to provide a written defense (position statement) to the allegations. Both parties are given the opportunity to refute the position statement of the other party.
Whistleblower investigations can be a lengthy process. The parties can settle the complaint at any time prior to a final determination.