The Department of Labor (DOL) announced yesterday that whistleblowers covered by any one of 22 statutes administered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration – which includes whistleblower retaliation complaints under Section 806 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) — can now file complaints online. Section 806 of SOX affords protection to employees who have allegedly suffered an adverse action because they complained, externally or even just to their supervisor, that the company has committed a violation of various fraud statutes (frauds and swindles, wire fraud, bank fraud, securities and commodities fraud), or a violation of any rule or regulation of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), or any provision of Federal law relating to fraud against shareholders. The online form, which is up and running, provides employees an additional and, for many, easier way to file a retaliation complaint to commence OSHA’s investigative process. Previously, employees had to mail a complaint, or visit or call an OSHA office. But the speed, efficiency and familiarity of the Internet creates the possibility that some employees who might not otherwise have filed complaints may now do so. This new accessibility to the enforcement agency mirrors the ease with which employees can provide tips regarding wrongdoing and apply for bounty awards to the SEC or Commodity Futures Trading Commission under the Dodd-Frank Act, which can also be done on-line.
To read the full DOL press release, click here