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OSHA PEOSHA Retaliation

Workers who complain about and/or report unsafe working conditions are protected from retaliation under both New Jersey’s Public Employees Occupational Safety Health Act (PEOSHA), N.J.S.A. 34:6A-25, and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA), 29 U.S.C. 650.

Have You Been Fired or Retaliated Against for Complaining About Unsafe Working Conditions?

Being forced to work in an unsafe work environment is not only stressful, it can also result in physical injuries or illness, time off from work, and, ultimately, a loss of pay from being out of work to recuperate. Employees should not be forced to risk illness, injury or death just so that they can earn a living. For that reason, OSHA and PEOSHA require employers to provide work environments that are free of hazards and dangerous conditions. Both OSHA and PEOSHA also make it unlawful for employers to retaliate against employees who complain about, report, or confirm the existence of unsafe working conditions.

What Employers Are Covered by OSHA and PEOSHA?

Between both OSHA and PEOSHA, all employees are entitled to work in workplaces free of dangerous conditions and protected from illegal retaliation for raising concerns about unsafe work conditions. While New Jersey’s PEOSHA applies only to public employees, N.J.S.A. 34:6A-25, OSHA covers all private employees. 29 U.S.C. 625(5).

What Would I Have to Do to Be Protected From Retaliation Under Either PEOSHA or OSHA?

Lenzo & Reis’ unsafe working conditions’ attorneys understand the vast range of protections offered to New Jersey workers. Section 11(c) of OSHA makes clear that employers who fire or otherwise retaliate against employees who exercise any right under the law are engaging in unlawful retaliation. Under OSHA, employees have the right to file complaints with OSHA, request OSHA inspections of workplaces believed to be dangerous, accompany OSHA inspectors during inspections and/or speak with them privately, obtain results of OSHA inspections, and/or refuse to work in hazardous workplaces. Therefore, an employer who retaliates against an employee for doing any of those things would be engaging in illegal retaliation under OSHA.

PEOSHA also protects public employees from illegal retaliation for exercising their rights under the Act. Under PEOSHA, public employees have the right to file a complaint about unsafe or unhealthy work conditions or violations of health and safety standards, maintain the anonymity of their complaint so the employer does not know who filed, a timely on-site inspection from PEOSH, receive PEOSH’s determination, participate in workplace inspections, receive payment for “normal wages” during time spent participating in the PEOSH inspection, and to inform the PEOSH inspector of workplace hazards. New Jersey’s public employees are generally not protected from retaliation if they walk off the job or refuse to work. N.J.S.A. 34:6A-45b, 34:6A-48.

Importantly, if you are retaliated against in violation of OSHA or PEOSHA, you may also be entitled to the protections of New Jersey’s anti-retaliation whistleblower law known as the Conscientious Employee Protection Act or the protections against an unlawful firing known as a Pierce claim.

What Should I Do If I am Being or Have Been Retaliated Against for Complaining About Unsafe Work Conditions?

Employees who believe that they have been or are being retaliated against for complaining about unsafe work conditions, should contact the New Jersey unsafe working condition retaliation attorneys at Lenzo & Reis via phone at (973) 845-9922 or by e-mail by clicking here. Our illegal workplace retaliation attorneys, Claudia Reis and Chris Lenzo, have successfully represented thousands of employees in claims involving unlawful retaliation, including PEOSHA and OSHA retaliation claims, recovering lost wages, emotional distress, and financial awards for them.

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