Proposed legislation announced Apr. 28 by Vice President Al Gore, The Hazard Reporting Protection Act, would grant greater protection to American workers who report unsafe working conditions to OSHA. Dubbed "the whistleblower bill," the measure would:
- Increase the time for workers to file complaints of employer retaliation from 30 to 180 days.
- Set firm deadlines for the Dept. of Labor (DOL) to complete investigations of worker complaints of retaliation.
- Allow DOL to provide for reinstatement, back pay, and damages without requiring employees to go to court.
- Protect workers who refuse to work in what they reasonably believe to be seriously dangerous conditions.
- Allow workers, for the first time, to bring their own case to an Administrative Law Judge if DOL refuses to pursue the case.
- Provide DOL and employees additional authority to seek relief in federal courts when employers fail to comply with the department's decision in whistleblower cases.