Can My Employer Punish Me for Making a Complaint about Safety and Health Concerns?


Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA), you have a right to a workplace fairly free of safety and health risks.

If you think that your employer has punished you for asserting your rights to a safe workplace, you might consider calling OSHA or an attorney.

Will my employer find out I filed a complaint?

You can tell OSHA that you do not want your employer to know you filed a complaint.

If you do, OSHA should not tell your employer that you are the one who filed.

This is not a guarantee that your employer will not find out.

If you are worried that your employer might punish you, you might talk with an attorney before you file.

Can my employer punish me for asserting my rights?

It is illegal for your employer to punish you because:

  • You asked your boss to fix a safety or health risk;
  • You filed a complaint with OSHA; or
  • You refused to work because there was an immediate danger of harm.

Rarely an employer will react to a complaint by taking it out on the employees. Some examples of what an employer might try to do are:

  • fire you;
  • blacklist you;
  • reduce your pay or hours;
  • refuse to rehire you;
  • threaten you; or
  • transfer you.

If you think your employer has punished you for asserting your rights, you should contact OSHA or an attorney.

If you think you have been punished, you should take action soon.

Under OSHA, you must file a complaint about punishment within 30 days after the punishment.

Who do I contact if my employer punishes me for filing?

These organizations can help you find an attorney to talk with:

Oklahoma Bar Association

Tulsa County Bar Association

Or you can call OSHA:

Oklahoma office: 1-405-278-9560
Toll free: 1-800-321-OSHA (6742)
TTY: 1-877-889-5627

Last Review and Update: Dec 13, 2010
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