When you go to work, you have the right to a reasonable expectation of safety. This means that you have the right to assume your employer will put forth an appropriate effort to remove as many safety hazards as possible. In fact, there are both state and federal laws that mandate that employers make worker safety a priority.
If you notice hazards in your workplace or believe your employer is compromising your safety and well-being, you may take action. You have the right to report safety hazards, but employers may not respond kindly to this. In fact, some California employees experience retaliation after reporting a hazard in their place of work. If you experienced mistreatment after filing a report or making a complaint, you have legal options available to you.
OSHA regulations for employers
Your employer does not have to get rid of workplace hazards simply because it is the right thing to do. There are standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a federal agency, regarding how employers should approach worker safety. Some of the things OSHA requires of most types of employers include:
- Appropriately and honestly document the circumstances and details of any workplace injuries
- Provide safety training for all types of employees so they can do their jobs without unnecessary risk
- Warn employees about potential safety hazards they may encounter when working in particularly risky occupations
OSHA also prohibits any retaliatory action from employers if a worker reports a hazard. This means it is illegal for your boss to treat you differently or unfairly if you notice something wrong at work and want to speak out. Retaliation may include things such as firing, demoting, excluding, harassing or threatening workers. In addition to the right to report safety hazards in your workplace, you also have the right to report retaliation to OSHA.
What should you do?
If you reported a workplace safety issue and now you are experiencing retaliation from your employer, you do not have to face it alone. However, you may be unsure of what to do next or how you can stand up for yourself without risking your job.
A beneficial first step for you is to reach out for the assistance of an experienced employment law attorney. He or she can explain your rights and help you move forward with the appropriate course of action, which may include a civil claim against your employer.