Next week is the last week on the job for OSHA whistleblower Bob Whitmore. After working for 37 years without any discipline, rising to senior management, Bob Whitmore will lose his job with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for "intimidating and disruptive behavior." Whitmore had blown the whistle on OSHA's refusal to penalize companies that underreport their workplace injuries. Now Joe Davidson of the Washington Post and Ames Alexander of the Charlotte Observer report that OSHA has decided to discharge Whitmore.
The incident is all the more troubling in light of OSHA's role as an investigator of whistleblower complaints under 17 federal environmental, safety and integrity laws. If OSHA would stoop to firing one of its own whistleblowers, how can it fairly assess the whistleblower claims of other employers? Indeed, the General Accounting Office report in February found that OSHA fails in that mission, too.