National Whistleblower Day

On April 18, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration published a final rule establishing procedures for handling retaliation complaints under the Food Safety Modernization Act. The final rule explains the burdens of proof, remedies and statute of limitations similar to other whistleblower protection statutes that OSHA administers.

Section 402 of FSMA, signed into law January 2011, protects employees who disclose information about a possible violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act from retaliation by employers that manufacture, process, pack, transport, distribute, receive, hold or import food.

“Food industry workers must never be silenced by the threat of losing their jobs when their safety or the safety of the public is at stake,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “This rule underscores the agency’s commitment to protect the rights of workers who report illegal activity in their workplace.”

In 2014, OSHA published an interim final rule and requested public comments. This final rule responds to those comments, clarifies the agency’s policy regarding approval of settlement agreements, and improves consistency with the language of the statute, other OSHA whistleblower regulations, and developments in applicable case law.