Time for a change? At least some officials in the government think so. During a Senate hearing Tuesday, David Michaels, Assistant Secretary for the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), said the agency dismisses more than 200 cases a year due to time limits — some of which are as short as 30 days. According to Mr. Michaels, the “statute of limitations is a very serious problem,” leading to the dismissal of meritorious claims on a mere technicality.
At issue is the 20-some whistleblower statutes OSHA is charged with enforcing. The limitations periods for filing a complaint for whistleblower retaliation under those laws range from as little as 30 days to 180 days. Mr. Michaels is requesting an overhaul to those laws, among other things, to expand the time period to file complaints regarding whistleblower retaliation.
Mr. Michaels is not alone in questioning the status quo. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) have asked about the problems OSHA has encountered. Given the successful track record of Senator Grassley when it comes to whistleblower protections, with any luck (or persistence), we might actually see some meaningful changes.
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