Employment LawScene Alert: OSHA Delays Enforcement of Anti-Retaliation Provisions

On October 12, 2016, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (“OSHA”) agreed to further delay the enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions of the injury and illness tracking rule until December 1, 2016. Enforcement was originally scheduled to begin August 10, 2016 and then delayed until November 10, 2016. OSHA’s agreement to once again delay enforcement of its new anti-retaliations provisions is in response to a request from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, which is currently considering a motion challenging OSHA’s new rules.

Despite its self-imposed delay in enforcement of its anti-retaliation provisions, last week, OSHA released a memo with examples discussing in more detail how the new anti-retaliation amendments will be interpreted and implemented by OSHA. See OSHA Memorandum for Regional Administrators (10/19/2016).

OSHA explained that its purpose in including the new anti-retaliation provisions is to address workplace retaliation in three specific areas: (1) Disciplinary Policies; (2) Post-accident Drug Testing Programs; and (3) Employee Incentive Programs. Although neither employee disciplinary policies, post-accident drug testing programs, or employee incentive programs are expressly prohibited by the new rules, employers will need to be careful about how their policies or programs are drafted and enforced so as to not, in the eyes of OSHA, discourage or deter employees from reporting work-related injuries or illnesses.

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