Allen Robert Quoted in Article “Record Number of Whistleblower Cases Filed, Resolved by OSHA in Fiscal 2012”

Bloomberg BNA's Occupational Safety & Health Reporter

Allen Roberts, a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice and co-chair of the firm's Whistleblowing and Compliance subpractice group, was quoted in an article titled "Record Number of Whistleblower Cases Filed, Resolved by OSHA in Fiscal 2012."

Following is an excerpt:

A record number of whistleblower complaints were filed with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in fiscal 2012, according to figures from OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program.

The number of whistleblower cases submitted to OSHA in fiscal 2012 reached 2,787, up 5 percent from 2011's total of 2,648, agency figures show.

Growing even faster was the number of complaint determinations made by OSHA—2,867 cases in 2012, a 42 percent boost over the prior year's 2,013 determinations. However, of the determinations, only 21 percent (592) produced settlements that OSHA officials approved or reviewed, and just 2 percent (45) resulted in a finding or preliminary order by the assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

The remaining complaints were either withdrawn by complainants (564, 20 percent) or dismissed by OSHA (1,665, 58 percent). ?...

Allen B. Roberts pointed out that while much of the political and press attention to whistleblowing has focused on new regulations such as the Affordable Care Act's health insurance reforms, 86 percent of cases filed last year involved typical workplace safety issues. ?...

Roberts said the public's attention to whistleblower cases should have weight in an employer's decision to contest a complaint or settle. "There is certainly much more sensitivity on how something looks and could damage a brand or image," he said.